Becoming a title favorite over the summer and opening the season against the hometown rival would all be hugely motivational for the Clippers. But Patrick Beverley has never required that extra fuel. By tipoff of any given game he has already showered in kerosene and used a lit match as a Q-tip. That’s his whole purpose.
“When he run up on me like a pitbull, grab me, hold me, I don’t mind it,” Kevin Durant said of his rabid, undersized defender during the 2019 playoffs. “That’s how he make his money. That’s how he feed his family.” Additional testimony to Beverley’s enthusiasm could be found in Russell Westbrook’s knee or Dennis Smith Jr.’s smile. In the Clippers’ season-opening 112-102 win Tuesday over the Lakers, the guard showed out despite 1-of-7 shooting, rounding out his night with 10 rebounds, six assists, the unhinged defense that built his rep, and various on-brand antics.
A jump ball against Anthony Davis, at a deficit of at least 8 inches, was an invitation for Beverley to talk some smack and jump the gun:
An impressive bit of help defense on Davis later in the game had Beverley ready to chew through a fiber optic cable:
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is as familiar with Beverley as anyone in the league, but their postgame debrief might still have bruised a rib. The NBA hasn’t seen a player-coach interaction like that since Josh Smith radicalized Kevin McHale with a single push.
Beverley kept his momentum as he moved from the hardwood to the locker room, where he reportedly chewed out ESPN’s Max Kellerman in anticipation of the morning’s weak takes.
No one could ever drain Beverley of his energy, but one might at least try by asking him if his self-image draws on Matthew Dellavedova. (Spoiler: It doesn’t.)
Beverley was gassed up already. Now his teammates are Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, and he may never blink again. The “Patrick Beverley” dial on Patrick Beverley has been ratcheted up all the way to the max. This will get exhausting.