When the Los Angeles Lakers began the 2017-18 NBA season with a matchup against the L.A. Clippers, point guard Patrick Beverley made it known he intended to hound rookie Lonzo Ball. He did just that, picking Ball up fullcourt and forcing him into turnovers.
It was the type of tenacity Beverley plays with whenever he steps on the court, though at times it appears to be ratcheted up. Such is the case for games against Russell Westbrook and the Lakers.
On Monday night, Beverley requested the assignment of defending LeBron James. Despite giving up seven inches and 65 pounds, he wrestled with the 16-year veteran down on the block and held his own.
As the Clippers began to pull away in the fourth quarter, Beverley egged on an agitated Staples Center crowd that booed the Lakers. After a 113-105 win, Beverley revealed some insight into his motivation.
“I got drafted by the Lakers, they traded me to Miami,” he said. “LeBron got there, they cut me. I remember it like it was yesterday. So yeah, there’s a chip on my shoulder.”
Even when accounting for the Lakers signing James, Beverley claimed prior to the start of the season that the Clippers were the superior team in L.A. He’s been happy to offer reminders since.
“(There) were seven people in here Media Day,” he recalled. “I remember like it was yesterday, and I told Shai, ‘Shai, look at the room, there’s seven people here. Watch at the end of the year.’
“Like I said about us being the best team in L.A., a lot of people don’t believe me, it’s fine. Women lie, men lie, numbers don’t.”
Beverley’s hard-nose nature fits well for a Clippers team that’s constantly played under the Lakers’ shadow. Although he may not agree with it, the underdog role is one Beverley embraces.
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