Clippers vs. Lakers: Patrick Beverley is the X-factor

first_img For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Game 4 photos: Luka Doncic, Mavs shock Clippers in overtime Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Though the Clippers benefit from Beverley’s presence, to hear him tell it, it’s about more than inspiring his colleagues.“I just try to show people different ways,” said Beverley, whose roundabout route to the NBA took him from Chicago to Arkansas and then through Ukraine, Greece and Russia. “You have people in this league that can score and that’s good, but what else can you do to impact the game and winning?“Every kid’s not gonna be 7 feet, every kid’s not gonna be Steph Curry, or ‘Greek Freak’ (Giannis Antetokounmpo), James Harden, Russell Westbrook. The average kid looks like me, my height, my size. How can you impact winning? That’s been my biggest thing.“If I don’t score, you gonna know I was out there. My defense not on tonight? You’re gonna know I was out there.”Through two meetings thus far, the Lakers have known: Beverley was out there. Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Whatever happens in Clippers-Lakers III on Sunday, bank on Patrick Beverley having some serious say-so in the outcome.The maniacally competitive guard – who, yes, has scored a total of just 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting in the first two contests combined – has proved a linchpin in both Clippers’ victories, during which they’ve outscored the Lakers by 39 points in the 62 minutes he’s been on the floor.When the teams met in the season opener, both of with sky-high expectations and a perfectly blank slate, the 6-foot-1 Beverley grabbed a huge, late-game rebound (his 10th of that contest) over 6-9 LeBron James.“One of the biggest plays of the game was his offensive rebound,” said Rivers then of the board that allowed the Clippers to maintain possession and set up a three-point play, increasing their lead to 11 with 3:05 left in the 112-102 victory.center_img When both teams limped into their second meeting on Christmas Day, Beverley delivered again.The Lakers came into that one having lost three consecutive games and concerned about a muscle strain near James’ rib cage and Anthony Davis’ ankle and knee soreness. The Clippers had their own issues: They’d lost three of five games, had blown a few big leads and had Beverley’s sore right groin to fret about.Fortunately, everyone played and L.A.’s teams put on a show fit for the occasion. They traded leads and big plays until Beverley’s quick hands handed the Lakers the loss.As James looked to launch a potential game-winner with time running out, Beverley seemed ready to crawl inside James’ jersey. He prodded, probed and then pushed a hand into the Laker forward’s shot, sending the ball out of bounds. After an official review, the referees determined James had last touched it and the Clippers got possession with just more than three seconds left in their eventual 111-106 victory.The teams will face off for a third time at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center in what was supposed to have been their final regular-season meeting. That fourth meeting instead will be played April 9, rescheduled because the NBA postponed the game that was set for Jan. 28, two days after Kobe Bryant’s death. Clippers’ Paul George: ‘If I make shots, this series could be a little different’ So now, when the Lakers (48-13) and Clippers (43-19) meet for the first time since Christmas, they’ll have the wind at their backs. The Clippers have won six consecutive and boast a 10-0 mark with a fully healthy roster; the Lakers have won three in a row and nine of their past 10.The stage seems set, potentially, for further heroic antagonism from Beverley, who’s grabbed a combined 19 rebounds in the season series so far, more than anyone else involved beside James, who also has 19.That’s the type of contribution that has moved Clippers forward Paul George, who said recently his approach to the game has been altered by his time playing beside Beverley, without whom the Clippers are just 7-9.“It’s contagious when you’ve got a guy who plays to win and doesn’t care what his stats look like,” George said. “It changed me. I just wanna go out there and hoop. I don’t care … if I make shots, if I miss, as long as I’m impacting winning and we come out with a win, that’s all that matters.”Related Articles What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 last_img

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