Chances are that a week ago you probably didn’t know Patrick Beverley.
And chances are that today you probably don’t like him very much.
Beverley is the Rockets point guard who busted up Russell Westbrook’s right knee, tearing his lateral meniscus in Game 2 on Wednesday night and causing Westbrook to miss the rest of the playoffs. Following his team’s shoot-around Saturday morning, Beverley again expressed sympathy for Westbrook’s situation but no remorse for the play that led to this.
In an interview with reporters, he discussed his feelings on Westbrook’s injury, how the Thunder point guard’s absences changes the series and his new notoriety.
What is your response to everyone thinking you had bad intentions on the play that injured Russell Westbrook?
No response at all. I knew my actions and my intent. My intent was for no one to get hurt. I keep saying this. It’s an unfortunate situation, but my focus is on the basketball game tonight.
How much was it your plan and the team’s plan to just pester Westbrook, in all kinds of ways, throughout the game?
We wanted to get a focus that we come out defensively. We understand that they’re great offensively with Westbrook and (Kevin Durant) and Kevin Martin, some guys that make some shots with them.
How does the Thunder not having Westbrook change the series for the Rockets?
I mean, he’s an All-Star. He’s their point guard, the captain of the boat. That’s really a tremendous loss for them. It’s hard losing an All-Star. It’s going to be hard, but that just puts more pressure on us to defend Kevin Durant that much harder. We understand he’s going to come out and be aggressive. We have to prepare. And we understand someone else is going to step up for them. This is the NBA.
How strange has this been for you to go so quickly from a guy a lot of people around the country did not know to they’re now talking about you on TNT, they’re showing your highlights and showing plays and talking about you on Twitter in such a short period of time?
It kind of feels like I’m back in Russia a little bit. But I don’t know if I’m on TV for the good reasons now. I can’t control that. I can only control my basketball game, and that’s going out there and playing aggressive. Going for steals. Going for blocks. Going for offensive rebounds. And my focus now is the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You’ve mentioned your overseas experience a couple times now in the last couple of days. What was that experience like for you?
From being overseas to instantly coming over here and no one knows who I am, it’s kind of a relaxing period. Being in Russia, every time I step out for a dinner I was treated like James Harden over there. So coming over here and being a guy that a lot of people don’t know to now being on TNT for the wrong reasons. But it is what it is. I can’t control what happened. It was an unfortunate situation. I think last game someone did the same thing. So it’s definitely an unfortunate situation.
How were you so effective rebounding in Game 2?
I get lucky sometimes (laughs). I think Omer (Asik) and those guys do a great job of boxing out their bigs and I’m able to come from behind and scoop some stuff up. I’m mostly lucky, though.
There’s a toughness to your game that a lot of fans appreciate. Can you talk about the roots of that toughness and how you developed that in your game over the years?
Coming from Chicago. I got a lot more pressure growing up walking to the corner store…So the toughness definitely comes from Chicago. It definitely comes from being overseas, out of my element and away from my family, away from my comfort zone. I was able to perform well. Not playing against different states but playing against different countries. So it’s a reason for everything. I’ve been put in situations where my back is against the wall and I responded well from it.