The Clippers were mostly proud of the way they fought in the conference finals at Phoenix, though they lost the series, but there was one notable exception.
After six games of playing tough defense on Devin Booker and Chris Paul, and getting the better of them on numerous occasions — even if it resulted in Booker breaking his nose in Game 2 — Patrick Beverley had an ignominious exit from the postseason. While the players were walking to the benches with the game well out of hand as the Suns held a 26-point lead with under six minutes to play, Beverley shoved Paul with two hands in the back. It was a clearly unsportsmanlike play that resulted in Beverley being ejected from the game.
The two players had been talking back and forth with each other all series, and for years really, considering they were once traded for one another. But Beverley’s actions went a step too far, and he acknowledged as such when he apologized to Paul on Twitter the next day.
@CP3 emotions got the best of me last night gang. My bad wasn’t meant for you. Congrats on making it to the Finals. Best of Luck— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 1, 2021
Although it was a nice gesture, the apology likely won’t be enough to save Beverley from future punishment. Chris Haynes wrote that sources told Yahoo Sports “Beverley will face a suspension to start next season” because of the play.
How many games Beverley will get is an open question. Giannis Antetokounmpo mowed down Mike Dunleavy Jr. in the final game of Milwaukee’s 2015 postseason, and the future MVP was ejected and suspended one game. Beverley’s push was arguably less dangerous, but because it didn’t occur during the run of play — and Beverley has a history — it will likely be judged more harshly.
Andrew Bynum knocked JJ Barea to the ground while Barea was airborne in the Lakers’ final playoff game of 2011. Bynum was subsequently suspended for five games to start the next season, though that number was brought down to four because the season was shortened by the lockout. Bynum’s foul was much worse than Beverley’s, so it stands to reason that Beverley’s suspension should top out at 2-3 games. Then again, the game is officiated more tightly than it was 10 years ago.
Whatever happens to Beverley, the good news is that he owned up to his mistake and that Chris Paul is fine moving forward to the NBA Finals. Hopefully, they can all put this incident in the past, even if Beverley still has to pay for it in October.
More news for Friday:
- Zack Kram puts Reggie Jackson’s playoff heater in historical context.
- Kevin O’Connor reports that the Heat and the Mavericks will pursue Kawhi Leonard in free agency.
- Zach Lowe says he thinks the Clippers will be “sniffing around” Kemba Walker, who was recently traded to the OKC Thunder.
- Nic Batum confirms he will be playing for Team France in the Tokyo Olympics. It doesn’t seem like Ivica Zubac will be joining the Croatian team.
- USA Basketball announced its select team to help train the senior team for the Olympics. No Clippers on the list.