Do We Need To Call Bullshit On Patrick Beverley?
The Rockets' Patrick Beverley is a tenacious on-ball defender. It's what helped catapult him into the starting lineup ahead of Jeremy Lin (also, it's tough to play Lin alongside James Harden for extended minutes). He also seems like kind of an asshole.
Last night, Beverley and the Rockets were in Oklahoma City to play the Thunder. Beverley has some history with the Thunder -- he almost singlehandedly derailed their legitimate title hopes in the playoffs last year by running into Russell Westbrook's leg near the sideline. Westbrook tore his meniscus on that play and the rest was history. Now here's their run-in from the first quarter yesterday:
The whistle blows, everyone walks to the bench, and yet Beverley still "goes" for the steal? It's almost exactly the same play from last year, and Westbrook understandably takes issue with that. Scrum ensues, etc., etc.
Moments later, Beverley goes for the steal on Westbrook again, and does manage to knock it loose:
But what's with the jumping over the back? Where does that ever result in anything other than a foul call?
There's a thin but definitive line one can cross when playing tight, tough defense that puts you in "asshole" territory. Beverley straddles -- and some would say crosses -- that line more than any other player in the league today, and he does it often. Earlier this week, he got into it on the court and in the media with the Blazers' Damien Lillard after hounding Lillard all night and finally appearing to flop in order to draw a sixth foul from his counterpart.
Beverley, for his part, says he plays everybody the same and "imposes his will" on the other team. But where I'm from, playing like that will get your ass kicked for you. There are plenty of game-changing defensive players in the league nowadays -- LeBron James, Serge Ibaka, Chris Paul -- and none of them need to resort to the kind of tactics Beverley employs.
To be clear, I don't think any one of these incidents, taken separately, means much. But a pattern has emerged here. This happens too often for it not to be addressed. I'm all for tough, hard-nosed defense, Patrick, and even some gamemanship and trash-talking, but the results speak for themselves here. I'm calling bullshit on you. Cut that out.
The Thunder won, by the way.
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