LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers welcomed back guard Patrick Beverley to Staples Center on Saturday night for the first time as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
While the Clippers handed Minnesota their worst loss of the year, the game also featured a celebratory moment for Beverley during the first timeout of the game. The team played a tribute video for their former guard, a guy that many players, coaches, and fans described as “the heart of the team” during his time in Los Angeles.
Clippers played the video tribute for Patrick Beverley during the first timeout. He got a loud ovation in his return to LA.pic.twitter.com/8uw65qcdX2
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) November 14, 2021
Unfortunately for Beverley, his return was quickly spoiled by a 38-17 second quarter by the Clippers that knocked Minnesota out of the game.
That didn’t surprise him one bit after the Timberwolves’ blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. After the game, ClutchPoints caught up with Beverley, who called the Clippers one of the toughest teams in the league.
“Obviously, I know this team like the back of my hand,” Patrick Beverley said. “I know what they’re telling each other in the locker room. ‘This team just came off the back-to-back. Run, run, run, run.’ If I was here, that’s the exact same knowledge I’d be giving them, so I’m pretty sure that was stated in their locker room and that’s really what they did. Rebounding was solid, free throws was 9-to-16 our way, so they just put their foot on the pedal and just kept going and kept going in transition. Once they’re in transition, they get confidence in shooting the ball, one of the toughest teams to beat in the league as well.”
Beverley arrived in Los Angeles via the Chris Paul trade with the Houston Rockets that also brought in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. At the time, no one knew what to expect as the Clippers seemingly tried to recoup something while losing a future Hall of Famer in Paul.
And boy did they.
The Clippers went on to acquire Tobias Harris, draft Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson, and they became one of the rare teams to make the playoffs without a true superstar.
Beverley would spend four and a half years in LA, helping to change the culture of a franchise that was ragged on following so many playoff collapses.
“Man, I got nothing but love,” Patrick Beverley added of his first game back as a visitor. “Nothing but love for the city of LA, obviously. You come here in the beginning, some kind of semblance to Minnesota. First-year eighth seed. You take that and try to build from it and did something special here. Came up short, didn’t win a championship, but went to the Western Conference Finals, something that the team never did so, man, it was great. It was really great. Was happy to see some old friends. Unfortunate loss obviously, but it was good. Really emotional, really good though.”
Beverley, Williams, and Harrell helped the Clippers transition from Lob City to the new era that eventually lured in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The trio instantly became fan favorites due to their underdog mentalities, fun personalities, and the fight they showed night in and night out.
For most basketball fans who don’t also root for the Clippers, it’s sometimes hard to understand why Beverley, Williams, and Harrell are so beloved. You look at his career numbers with the Clippers and see 8.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 39.5 percent from 3. You look at how many championships they’ve won, and the answer is the same as it was for the last few decades.
Beverley’s impact goes beyond the box scores and end result, and that has shown with guys like Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum now, too.
Even though he has moved on to the Timberwolves, Beverley understands how significant his role was with this franchise.
“Yeah, oh for sure,” Patrick Beverley affirmed. “Especially as a basketball player here, you put your blood, sweat, and tears in this shit and obviously you wanna win the championship every year you play. I mean, for me, every year I play, I wanna win a championship. That’s my mindset. To get that far, obviously, Kawhi goes down, he gets hurt in the Utah series, but we still managed to come back and fight back, give Phoenix a run for their money. Probably one of the best series of basketball we done seen in a long time. You can’t win all of them, didn’t win a championship, but we did a lot of special things here.”
Each year has 29 losers and one winner. One team will stand out above the rest, which injuries and health playing the most significant factors. In the end, hard work and dedication are all you can ask for as a fan.
When asked by ClutchPoints what his favorite memory of his time in Los Angeles was, Beverley collected his thoughts before answering.
“Lot of smiles man, lot of smiles. If I was to do it all over, wouldn’t change it a bit. Me, Lou, and Trez came here, and then one by one, I was the last Mohican, and then I was out. But no regrets. Wouldn’t change anything. We put on for the city. We turned this Laker city into a Clipper city and that’s all you can ask for. We gave the fans something to be excited about, we gave the city something to be excited about. People wanted to see the Clippers play for whatever reason and we’ll appreciate that.”
The Timberwolves will again visit the LA Clippers on Jan. 3 for their fourth and final head-to-head matchup of the year. It’ll be another opportunity for Clippers fans to again show love to “Mr. 94 Feet” himself.