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OKC Thunder: Patrick Beverley isn't in St. Petersburg anymore; he's in the Thunder's face

THUNDER 105, ROCKETS 102 — Gritty guard Patrick Beverley made the most of his chance Wednesday night, using a rare start and extended extra minutes to torment Oklahoma City — and Russell Westbrook.
By JOHN ROHDE Modified: April 24, 2013 at 11:44 pm •  Published: April 24, 2013

Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale said it doesn't take much to get Patrick Beverley excited to play basketball.

“You throw the ball up and Patrick's ready to go,” McHale explained.

When they threw the ball up for Game 2 on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Beverley was more than ready to go against the OKC Thunder.

“The coaching staff told me I was starting a couple of days ago, so of course I was excited,” Beverley said.

When Beverley unintentionally bumped knees with Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook as a timeout was being called with 5:34 left in the second quarter, a hobbled and angry Westbrook slammed the scorer's table in frustration and got more than a little fired up himself.

As OKC and Houston waged a war, a battle ensued between Westbrook and Beverley.

“It's the playoffs,” Westbrook said with a smile. “I can't help but get excited. I love to compete for my team and for my fans. Just try to go out and compete. … It's fun.”

The Thunder survived the war with a 105-102 victory to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series, but Westbrook and Beverley no doubt will continue to battle.

Originally drafted out of Arkansas by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, Beverley was traded to the Miami Heat and waived days before the 2010-11 season. He signed with the Rockets on Jan. 7 after playing in St. Petersburg, Russia.

McHale opted to go with a small lineup for Game 2 and replaced 6-foot-10, 250-pound power forward Greg Smith with the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Beverley, who came up big with 16 points, 12 rebounds (five offensive), six assists, two steals and one blocked shot.

“Anybody that knows me knows I'm not going to back down from anyone, whether it's Westbrook or anyone else," Beverley told Rockets.com.

Westbrook countered with 29 points (10 for 26 from the field; 1 for 7 from 3-point range), five rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Despite using the league's smallest starting lineup with three players 6-foot-5 and under, the Rockets inexplicably dominated the boards with a 57-40 rebounding advantage.

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