Late in Wednesday's win over the Atlanta Hawks, Taurean Prince committed a hard foul that sent Whiteside to the ground. Johnson immediately came to his teammate's defense, getting into a shoving match with the rookie that ended in ejections for them both.
"It was just instinct," Johnson told reporters following the 116-93 victory, as quoted by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "It was just the instinct of a brother."
Whiteside expressed gratitude to the veteran for that instinctive act.
"I appreciate it. I got James' fine," said Whiteside, who signed a $98-million contract last summer to remain in South Beach. The center also called Prince a "fake tough guy" whose foul - deemed a flagrant 2 - gave him a headache.
"It hurt a lot. I hit my head, too. It was a dangerous play, but you know, it's alright. It's alright."
Asked about Prince's intent, Count Blockula speculated the hard hit was out of frustration.
"I don't know. Maybe because he don't play. I don't know," he replied.
Whiteside continued to play for a few minutes following the incident. He finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds, helping the scorching Heat pick up their ninth straight win.