Patrick Beverley is making presence known again for Clippers
While walking onto the HP Field House court Saturday afternoon, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley pierced the sleepy quiet of the pregame warmups with a single, full-volume yell.
Two days later before a Clippers practice, he entered a ballroom inside the Coronado Springs Convention Center and announced his presence with several more guttural exclamations.
Each time, Beverley caught some inside the facilities by surprise. But not his fellow Clippers. They know it is part of a habit Beverley uses to tell himself, and anyone else within earshot, that he is now in competition mode — a switch he flips to limit his focus to basketball only.
Such basketball blinders have helped Beverley cope since the death of a close friend led him to leave the Disney World campus housing the NBA’s restart July 21.
“It seems normal for me,” the Chicago native said Monday during his first meeting with reporters since his return to Disney World on July 26. “I’ve been dealing with adversity since I’ve been growing up, so this is just another, I guess, bag of fuel I can use for motivation.”
Rejoining the team “kind of turned off reality a little bit about what was going on back home,” Beverley said. He added later that while playing in the Clippers’ first two seeding games, “I was able to kind of clear my mind a little bit being back on the basketball court and doing what I love to do the most.
Center Montrezl Harrell, whose grandmother died, is one of several Clippers whose preparation for the league’s restart was interrupted by mourning.
“Definitely got to get my wind up a little bit. My conditioning is not where it needs to be. But we’ve got these games to kind of figure it out, but I’m just happy to be back here, be back here with my teammates and my guys and kind of get on this quest to win this NBA championship.”
The Clippers (45-21) gave their starting guard space while he was away, not asking him to rush back to help the team prepare for what it hopes is a push toward the 50-year-old franchise’s first championship. Yet from Beverley’s two years on the roster, they also understood the difficulty of compensating for his absence.
Though 6 feet 1 and 185 pounds, Beverley carries outsized influence on his team’s fortunes through nonstop tenacity at both ends of the court. Indeed, his preferred nickname references the entire length of the court: Mr. 94 Feet. That full-court defense helped him break into the league in 2013 but he has stayed because he is also a career 38% three-point shooter and, with his floaters and stop-on-a-dime pump-fakes in the paint, a crafty shot-maker around taller defenders.
The Clippers are 7-9 this season when Beverley does not play and were 0-4 during the previous season.
After quarantining for four days upon his return to Orlando, Beverley came off the bench for the first time this season and scored 12 points in 16 minutes in last Thursday’s 103-101 loss to the Lakers. He resumed his starting role Saturday against New Orleans and played 18:25, scoring nine points. Beverley made a combined five of eight three-pointers and contributed other plays that were not replicated in his absence, such as his dive for a loose ball Saturday that allowed the Clippers to retain possession when Beverley called timeout.
“His spirit alone lifted us,” coach Doc Rivers said Saturday. “He just makes so many unselfish plays. He’s incredible some of the things he does. Half his points, half the things that happen out there, he gets zero credit for in a stat sheet, yet the meaning for us on the floor is immeasurable.”
Clippers reserve Lou Williams could play Tuesday against Phoenix in what would be his first game since returning to the Disney campus and quarantining for 10 days. The team upgraded Williams on Monday night to questionable to play against the Suns.
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The Clippers’ third-leading scorer this season at 18.7 points per game, Williams left July 23 to attend a funeral in Atlanta but was expected to return only days later to begin a four-day quarantine that would leave him available to play against the Lakers in his team’s first seeding game. While away, an associate posted a picture of him and Williams together at an Atlanta strip club, and after an investigation, the league extended his quarantine by six additional days.
Montrezl Harrell has yet to rejoin the team after departing July 17 because of an ailing grandmother.
When: 1 p.m. PDT, Tuesday
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket, NBA TV; Radio: 570
Update: The Suns (28-39) are 2-0 during the restart following Sunday’s 117-115 victory over Dallas in which Phoenix rallied from 11 points down behind Devin Booker’s 30 points. “I think they’re one of the thirstier teams here, of course obviously trying to make the playoffs,” Beverley said. “Their coach and their coaching staffs, they have them playing at a high level right now, playing really fast. … They do a hell of a job in spacing.”
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