Patrick Beverley returns to the scene of the crime Wednesday night. Returns to Chesapeake Arena, where Beverley’s collision with Westbrook ended up tearing Westbrook’s meniscus and requiring season-ending surgery. Beverley is The Man Who Crippled Russell Westbrook.
Beverley will be bombarded with boos during starting-lineup introductions for Game 5. Beverley’s reception will make Metta World Chaos’ appearance in OKC during the 2012 playoffs look like he was showered with rose petals.
Beverley lunged at Westbrook while the Thunder point guard was trying to call timeout in Game 2. Beverley’s hip caught Westbrook’s knee, and the rest is sordid history. Some NBA analysts called it reckless. Others called it a cheap shot.
I won’t give it a label. But this I will say. If there’s something wrong with the play, then it should be outlawed. I’m not big on unwritten rules. If it’s wrong, write it down. Make it a rule.
Heck, Westbrook himself has tried the play, against Houston no less. Here’s the play:
And you see it all the time. Happens in most every NBA game. Hardly ever works, although Beverley has said it worked against Phoenix this season.
Works or doesn’t, I don’t care. What I care about is if it’s not against the rules, then get off Beverley’s back. If it’s a dirty play, then legislate against it.
To its credit, the NBA doesn’t have a ton of unwritten rules. Unlike baseball, which is full of unwritten rules that get everyone worked up. It’s ridiculous. If Charles Barkley is right, and Beverley’s play was dirty, then why aren’t players and media and the union clamoring to get a rule instituted?
Beverley will be booed heavily in Game 5. But he’s no Chaos. This was not an elbow to the head. This was a play you see all the time. Sometimes by the Thunder.