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Erik Spoelstra: Dragic, Waiters deserve friendlier whistle

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Dragic and Waiters both rank near the bottom of the NBA in fouls drawn for players who drive to the basket frequently.

NBA: Miami Heat at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters have already voiced their disapproval of officiating during the season. Before Sunday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, Erik Spoelstra — a well-respected coach in the NBA — said that they have a point.

The quotes below comes courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman:

"You see them colliding with bodies all the time, and it's not just at the rim," Spoelstra said. "Now, Goran gets more adjustments and hits at the rim than any player that comes to mind, and he rarely gets that call."

Among the 35 players who average at least 10 drives to the basket per game, Dragic holds the seventh-lowest foul rate on penetration attempts at 4 percent. Waiters is a bit better, at 5.8 percent, but is still 14th from the bottom among players making at least 10 drives to the basket.

"I'm not giving them an excuse," he said, "but I understand their frustration. Because it's real. They get to the paint. It's hard to tell them something rationally why they're not getting calls. I don't know.

To be fair, the Heat players’ drives end up in passes 37.3 percent of the time, second-most in the NBA. That may explain why Dragic and Waiters get fewer foul calls than players who are more likely to attempt a shot.

Did Spoelstra make these comments hoping referees will give Dragic and Waiters a friendlier whistle? Did he just want to show his support for his starting backcourt? We’ll see if Dragic and Waiters get a friendlier whistle Wednesday in San Antonio.