Houston Rockets: The Patrick Beverley Ineffect
Mar 16, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) is fouled by Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
In case there was a Red Nation-er out there who hasn’t had the latest sauce-laden nugget reverberate back to him/her, Patrick Beverley may have played his last game for the foreseeable future.
Having knocked knees with the “Man of Steel” during a practice earlier this week, the “Junkyard Dog” decided to tough it out versus the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday night at Toyota Center. After aggravating the injury some time in the first quarter, Beverley left the game to never return.
There’s no need to describe how big of a blow this is to one of the hottest teams in the league. Patrick Beverley is everything for the Houston Rockets. The Heart. The Soul. The tough mentality. The physical imposition.
In a conference saturated with “elite” point-guards, Pat’s “in-your-face” defense is the reason teams are reluctant to make eye contact at the mere mention of a potential late-round match up with Houston.
The advantage the Rockets have against the Portland Trailblazers and the Golden State Warriors is predicated on the shut-down capabilities of Beverley. Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry are usually the focal points of their respected offenses but are forced to swing the ball around the perimeter.
It’s simple. Beverley picks them up full-court, a screener is set to free up the ball-handler, the Rockets defense collapses in to prevent penetration forcing the ball to an open shooter. Sounds like a recipe for disaster but having Klay Thompson and Wesley Mathews shooting takes their teams’ stars out of the offense. Ultimately, it’s a healthier alternative.
The new-age youngsters of today’s NBA are used to the current officiating. Finesse, minimal contact play is the only way they know. Bumping is dirty to them. Unnecessary. But Pat’s old-school style is “real basketball” in his eyes. The man prefers to fight you for the loose ball then shake your hand afterward. This is how it’s done from where he’s from and will continue to be done till he hangs his jersey in his locker for the final time.
But I’m not trying to write an obituary here. Patrick is seeking, through the advice of his counsel, a second opinion on a meniscus in his right knee that was previously diagnosed to be torn. The worst-case scenario is surgery, which would be performed as soon as possible to get Bev back on the court at an estimated six-week time frame.
If the Rockets are still competing for the trophy, a return could possibly spark the club to the championship series. The only thing we as Rockets fans can do is hope the team rallies around their fallen vocal leader and keep scaring the living daylights out the rest of the playoff teams.