On Thursday night, the Miami Heat dominated the Philadelphia 76ers from the jump, running away to a 106-94 win that looked closer than it actually was. The Heat took a 16-point lead into the second quarter, with their final bucket coming from the most improbable of sources: Udonis Haslem.
The 18-year veteran, all of which have been spent with the Heat, made his season debut on Thursday, playing just over two minutes and tallying four points, one rebound, two technicals, and an ejection in an incredible sequence. Haslem got tossed after he tried to fight Dwight Howard, poking the Sixers reserve big man in the face, and his night, and very likely his season, were over just like that. Whether Haslem comes back for a 19th season remains unknown, as he’s yet to make a decision on retiring or not, but it’s possible that his final act in a Heat uniform on the court will be this.
As many pointed out on social media, that would be a damn near perfect sendoff for the Heat legend who has embodied the organization’s toughness and culture for his entire career — it’s the whole reason he remains on the roster. After the game, Haslem himself couldn’t help but note that this would indeed be a perfect sendoff.
Udonis Haslem. Zero friends hat. Lol.
“If this is the last one, I finished it the only way Udonis Haslem could, with an ejection.” pic.twitter.com/Ey32ei9jkI
— Will Manso (@WillManso) May 14, 2021
Udonis Haslem, “At the and of the day, I am who I am. I can’t change now.”
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) May 14, 2021
Erik Spoelstra likewise loved what he saw from his longtime player, with an obvious big grin under his mask as he was asked about the ejection and what it said about Haslem.
Erik Spoelstra on UD: “The only thing I was waiting for was for him to take out his mouthpiece and throw it at Joey Crawford.”
“That’s my favorite moment of the season so far. excessive passion competitiveness and anger. Just love it, and thats why we roll with UD.”#5RSN pic.twitter.com/3zb9L4SoRz
— alex (@tropicalblanket) May 14, 2021
We won’t know Haslem’s future plans for some time, but if this was the end, it was quite the final note to hit. Haslem might not be the first name to pop into mind nationally when you think of the Heat, but for those in Miami it’s pretty much he and Dwyane Wade at the top of the list.