Rudy Gobert claimed Dion Waiters made a “dirty play” last Friday night when he went diving for a loose ball and rolled into his knee.
Dion Waiters took exception to that comment.
“I’ve never been a dirty player in my life,” Waiters said Sunday before the Heat’s game against the Pistons in Detroit. “I went for the ball. Tell him to get out of his feelings. And that’s what it is, just like that.”
The play happened in the third quarter of the Heat’s 84-74 win over the Jazz in Utah. Gobert would limp off the court, but return in the fourth quarter after being diagnosed with a right knee contusion.
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Gobert sat out the Jazz’s next game Saturday night against the Nets and as reported Sunday by Shams Charania of The Vertical, Gobert is expected to miss four to six weeks with a bone bruise.
After the game, Gobert retweeted a post with footage of the play with the seemingly sarcastic comment: “Dove for the ball right…”
Gobert told the Deseret News after the game: “It feels better than it looked on the video. I think it was a dirty play, but no matter what the most important thing is to keep getting better and to win tomorrow.”
When asked about it Sunday, it was pretty clear that Waiters didn’t take kindly to the implication.
“I didn’t even know that was him,” Waiters said. “I went for the ball, making a basketball play. He goes right to social media. I ain’t a social media guy. At the end of the day, that [expletive] don’t matter. Tell him to get out of his feelings. We won, they lost, so what.
“I’ve never been a dirty player in my life. If he thought it was a dirty play, you come to me as a man and you ask me and I’ll tell him the same [expletive] I’m saying now. I saw it on social media, late, after the win. I’m not a dirty player.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Sunday although hoping no one would get hurt, he liked Waiters’ aggressiveness on that play.
“Those are always tough plays when it’s a loose ball,” Spoelstra said. “It’s tough. That’s why we’re first hoping that he’s OK. But our point of emphasis all the time is if you see a loose ball, you better put your nose on it. Usually the guys that are reaching for it, two things happen: you don’t end up getting it, and then secondly, you leave yourself a chance of something like that.
“For us, I can see it both ways. Our point in emphasis with Dion is sell out to those loose balls, something he’s improving on. He was a little hesitant going for it and then it became an awkward one. I jut want him going for it, putting his nose on two or three more of those a game.”
Miami Heat's Dion Waiters provided the fourth-quarter spark in a comeback victory over the Utah Jazz on Fri., Nov. 10, 2017. Manny Navarro.firstname.lastname@example.org
RUBBING IT IN
Udonis Haslem said he wasn’t surprised by how convincing the University of Miami’s victory was Saturday night against Notre Dame.
“I figured they’d win,” Haslem said. “I didn’t know how bad it would be. I mean it’s a very important game. There’s a lot of history in that game. I think UM came out and took it personally, which they should have.”
Haslem has a bit of a UM-Notre Dame rivalry going with former teammate and current assistant coach Chris Quinn, a Notre Dame alum.
Haslem said Sunday he didn’t give Quinn as much grief as he’d like to over the victory, but he still might on the way back from the team’s six-game road trip.
“I didn’t get on [Quinn] as hard as I could,” Haslem said. “We’ve got one game left [on this trip]. If we take care of business, we’ll see how tough I ride him on the three-hour plane ride home.”