Patrick Beverley embracing the Kevin Durant challenge
L.A. Clippers guard Patrick Beverley has turned the NBA’s version of Dirty Jobs into an art form. The self-professed Mr. 94 Feet will assume his defensive stance, eyes forward, and clamp down, fighting for every inch, even if it against guys like Kevin Durant.
The 6-foot-1 point man took on the challenge of guarding the 6-foot-11 Durant, even despite the 10-plus inches of disparity between the two, knowing he could make an impact in this first round series.
“I just feel like he’s the best, you know?” Beverley told Sam Amick of The Athletic soon after he fouled out of a Game 2 win. “No disrespect to their team, but he’s one of the best players in the world. Him and Steph are two (of the best) – top six, they’d have to be … in the world. I felt like me covering KD would help our team and I wanted to set the tone.”
Durant got the best of him through the first three-and-a-half quarters of Game 1, going for a steady 23 points while giving the Warriors a comfortable cushion — though Beverley would not relent, ultimately getting Durant tossed out of the game after several minutes of back-and-forth barking.
The game was already out of reach for the Clippers, but Beverley had won that personal duel, even if he only scored three points to Durant’s 23.
Something he won’t easily admit.
“I don’t try to get in people’s head man,” Beverley told reporters after the game. “I can’t help (that) people get irritated by me. It’s not my fault. I go out there and I try to be the best defender on the fucking planet, consistently – (day) in and out, in and out. I take my role, I take my job, very seriously, and I do it for my teammates. I do it for my role, and I understand how to get stops. KD is not an easy cover, but it’s fun out there for sure.”
On Monday, Beverley repeated his inch-by-inch performance, this time taking on Curry and Durant, making every crevice of space a war for the Warriors’ best two players.
Curry was forced to sit out with eight minutes left in the third quarter with four fouls, disrupting his rhythm after a 22-point half. Durant would soon trade fouls with Beverley, fouling out shortly after the Clippers guard did in the fourth quarter.
Beverley’s game isn’t popular, it isn’t highlight-worthy, or even discussion-worthy — but being the Mike Rowe of the NBA is just like abstract art — only a few people can truly appreciate the beauty in it.