Nobody likes flies. Whether you’re taking in a nice sunny day with a cool beverage in your hand or just waiting until you’ve finished eating dinner to clean up your mucky dishes, they seem to always find a way to mess things up. They jump on your food. They cling to your arm. They buzz around your head. They just don’t go away no matter what you do. It’s not that they’re going to kill you or anything. In fact, they don’t cause any harm. They just make you change the way you go about things, like having to close your window or cover your food when you leave a room. You wish they weren’t around, but there seems to be no way of getting rid of them.
After spending some time in Ukraine, Greece, Russia and the D-League, Patrick Beverley, a young guard from Chicago, Illinois, found a home in Houston and quickly made a name for himself by being a defensive pest. He can do other things, of course. His offensive rebounding rate happens to be higher than those of Draymond Green, Chris Bosh and David West. If you pay too much attention to any of the Rockets’ Big Three, he’ll make you pay by stepping outside and knocking down some threes. But it really is his ball-hawking defense that has propelled him into the starting lineup for this season’s Houston Rockets – a team with championship aspirations.
On Thursday night, the Rockets made their way to Oakland to play against the Golden State Warriors. The game was at once ugly and beautiful. Both teams shot under 40 percent from the floor and Klay Thompson, Dwight Howard, Chandler Parsons and Harrison Barnes all had rough nights. But it went into overtime and the two stars, Stephen Curry and James Harden, came out to play. There were clutch shots, highlights aplenty and of course, a nail bitting finish. And while all that was going on, Beverley was quietly putting his stamp all over the game.
In 37 minutes, he finished with a pedestrian two points, five rebounds and three assists. He even missed all but one of his shot-attempts and failed to knock down a three. But the defense he played on Curry was very impressive.
I don’t remember the last time I saw a defender pick up the person they’re guarding 90-feet from the basket and I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone dare pull that stunt against a guy like Stephen Curry, who has some of the nastiest handles the league has seen in a long time. But Beverley didn’t think twice about it. Curry wound up scoring 25 points on this night, but he worked hard for each one of those points. When he gave up the ball, Beverley stuck to him like glue and didn’t give him any breathing room. When he made a move towards the basket, Beverley went step-for-step with him and used his flailing arms to contest every shot. And on the few occasions he did get beat off the dribble, he ran as fast as his little legs could take him to get back into position. It wasn’t anything that stood out in the box score, nor something that many probably noticed while taking in the game, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome.
But enough from me. Just watch the highlights and enjoy.
Patrick Beverley, everyone. As pesky as a fly.