All the praise was being heaped on Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari for their offensive exploits, but in the middle of all those compliments, Clippers coach Doc Rivers quickly pivoted toward the meaningful play of Patrick Beverley.
Thirty-seven seconds into his postgame soliloquy about how Williams and Gallinari provided the offensive impetus for the Clippers, Rivers saluted Beverley for his unwavering spirit.
“The most interesting stat on this whole thing to me is Gallo had 34 [points] and Lou had 40 and Pat Beverley had zero points and he was a plus-22,” Rivers said late Friday night after a 118-110 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center. “I thought he had the biggest impact on the game and I thought he guarded Paul George as well as you can guard him. He had seven rebounds. He just did so many things for us that it allows us to win games.”
Beverley is quick to point out that his job is to be a menace on defense, to be a pesky force and to be an agitator.
In that regard, the 6-foot-1 Beverley would not back down to the 6-9 and multi-skilled George, whom the Clippers point guard hounded all over the court until George fouled out with 3 minutes 49 seconds left on an offensive foul against Beverley.
George left the game with only 15 points, more than 13 below his average. He missed 11 of his 16 shots, including six of nine three-pointers.
More so, according to NBA.com, when Beverley defended George one-on-one, he basically put the clamps on George.
During the 44 possessions they were together, Beverley held George to seven points on three-for-10 shooting, one for five on three-pointers, one assist and four turnovers.
“I’m doing what it takes to win the game,” Beverley said. “I take my role very seriously. My assignment is Paul George and I deal with him to put us in a good position to win a basketball game.”
Along with his game-best plus-22, Beverley had even more of an impact on the game despite missing all three of his shots, all three-pointers.
Beverley had seven rebounds, three offensive. He had six assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
His teammates appreciated the sacrifice Beverley was willing to make in defending George and Russell Westbrook at times during the Clippers’ impressive win.
“He was huge for us tonight,” Williams said. “The things that he did on the defensive end and just how he approached the game was huge for us. I think early on, with that first group, he was the guy that kind of got them going and got us off to an early start with the other things they were doing.”