Udonis Haslem added a late, unlikely, and yet completely unsurprising chapter to his NBA resume on Thursday night. Less than a month from turning 41, in his 18th season, Haslem made his first appearance of the season with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers. UD did not need much time to make his presence felt and perhaps gave the Heat the final spark they'll need as they head into the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
After receiving an ovation from the partial crowd at American Airlines Arena, Haslem scored two baskets in less than three minutes. Then he got into it with Dwight Howard, put a finger in his face and got ejected. Before leaving he had some words for the Sixers bench. Possibly about what might happen should the teams meet again in the playoffs. If the Eastern Conference standings hold, they could see each other in the second round.
And that's why Udonis Haslem should be suspended for the rest of the season. If Pat Riley's masked smile didn't give it away, this is exactly the message the Heat wanted to send to the top-seeded 76ers. It was a perfect moment for both Haslem and Heat Culture. The NBA should step in and give them exactly what they want. Suspend Haslem, who made just his 45th appearance of the last five seasons last night.
Let Haslem finish his season and perhaps his career going out on top as the NBA's ultimate tough guy. Plus, for overreacting and suspending him for something that was barely worthy of a single technical foul, the Heat will be able to use this as motivation. The league was afraid of the full-power Miami Heat. It's exactly what they wanted and exactly what they want. Look at the joy they took from this.
What UD did gave them joy. If they didn't already think the Sixers were soft and beatable, Haslem punking Dwight as they blew them out in Miami has convinced them. Suspending UD would be perfect. It would let them play the Miami vs. The World card. And he wasn't going to play again this year anyway. No other player could end his career with a suspension and still be totally beloved by the one fanbase that ever really loved him.