MIAMI — The last time the Miami Heat were this pent up about a lack of free throws, coach Erik Spoelstra prefaced his comments by saying, "Look, NBA do not fine me."
That was after his team was rewarded with only eight foul shots compared to 26 for the Golden State Warriors in a two-point loss Feb. 10.
No fine followed, just league acknowledgment of a key missed late officiating call.
This time, with the Philadelphia 76ers attempting 35 free throws to his team's 12 in Thursday night's 106-102 loss at Wells Fargo Center, Spoelstra simply offered, "I'm not even going to get into it and I told our players not even to get into it. It doesn't look right."
But his players did get into it, particularly guard Dion Waiters, whose 18-point effort closed with just two attempts from the line.
"At the end of the day, I feel like we played hard, we attacked, and calls didn't go our way,” Waiters said. “You look at the fouls and things like that, man, it's 35-12. So it’s kind of hard when you're battling and you know you give it everything you've got and you can't touch guys out there.
"It's been like that. So it's frustrating. But at the end of the day, we can only control what we can control. Something's got to give also, man. You've got too many guys on this team that drive. As far as us getting in the paint, the numbers are right there and we don't go to the free-throw line at all."
The Heat closed with 66 points in the paint to the 76ers' 52.
"Like I said man, you know something's got to give," Waiters said, with the Heat turning their attention to Saturday night's game against the Detroit Pistons at AmericanAirlines Arena. "At the end of the day, we've got to keep fighting through it, keep battling. And as hard as it sounds, and it’s very frustrating, we’ve just got to stay with it."
Waiters said it's as if the Heat's physical reputation has been discounted on one end of the court. The Heat are 20th in free throws at 22 per game.
"You know, we're physical," he said. "That's what we’re known for, a physical, tough team. We're going to make it hard every night for you.
"But we're going to put our heads down too and get to the basket. There's guys like myself, I get in the paint a whole lot. I went to the free-throw line twice. Come on, man. When you look at [35-12] free throws, something’s not right."
Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he was particularly touched that the 76ers had Allen Iverson narrate Philadelphia's video tribute at Thursday's game, Wade's final regular-season appearance at Wells Fargo Center amid his retirement tour.
"When I was a kid, Michael Jordan No. 1, Allen Iverson No. 2, and Kobe Bryant No. 3, my top three favorite players of all time," Wade said. "To take myself out of the moment and to think about 20 some odd years later, Allen Iverson's voice would be the one dedicating something to me in his area, his city, I couldn't have written it any sweeter, any better.
"I'm so appreciative of obviously every organization that does something like that, because they don't have to. My guy, man, the guys know he's one of the two reasons I wear No. 3 and every time I see him, it's all love and I appreciate that and I try to rep that No. 3 to the fullest. So I hope I made him proud."
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Wade traded jerseys after Thursday's game with emerging 76ers guard Ben Simmons.
"I remember my first season, he hit a big shot against me and they won the game," Simmons said. "But just to be on the floor with a legend like that. For me growing up, I used to wear his shoes when he was with Converse and it's just an amazing feeling to be out there with a legend like that."