Y’all ever heard of James Butler?
A former professional boxer from Harlem, Butler is most known for losing a fight against Brooklyn native Richard Grant at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City on November 29, 2001. Grant, after winning by unanimous decision, went to shake Butler’s hand. Butler, instead, sucker-punched him and knocked him out, later arrested for assault.
Thankfully, last night’s parting shot from Patrick Beverley on Chris Paul didn’t replicate that infamous incident, but there was a similar level of corniness displayed on the way out from each sore loser. There’s also a chance some better defense could’ve avoided this, but we’ll get to that in a second. Let’s run it.
First off: 41, CP3? That’s the second most ever in NBA playoff history for anyone age 36 or older. It’s worth noting that this was truly the dagger, putting the Los Angeles Clippers up 26 with 5:42 left in the game. The jumper was actually guarded by Marcus Morris, and it didn’t matter. The Clips called timeout, and you’ll see right before the commercial break — which was subsequently delayed — he and Beverley exchanged looks. Beverley, while down 26, took exception to this, like the professional heel that he is, and walked behind Paul, who had been venturing over to his bench, and shoved the shit out of him. Beverley earned an ejection, and Paul later got up, laughed, celebrated, then hit the technical free throw. On the replay, it doesn’t look like Paul said anything and Beverley just pushed him from behind, WWE style. He might as well have had a chair in his hands at that point.
For what it’s worth, Beverley did apologize Thursday in a sportsmanlike gesture:
Going back to where this could’ve possibly been avoided: Frank Kaminsky, what are you doing, dawg? Not to say Kaminsky is the reason this escalated at all, the 7-footer was just inefficient in putting out this abrupt fire. In fairness, perhaps he didn’t expect Beverley to blow up, I guess. But on the re-watch, you’ll see on Beverley’s path to Paul, only Kaminsky could potentially stand in the way of this. He did not. Instead, he tried to stare Beverley down as the agitated guard bulldozed right passed the former Wisconsin lottery pick and pushed Paul from behind. Kaminsky, after merely watching this unfold, and seeing Paul fly and plop onto the ground like a fallen skittle, half-assed (really, quarter-assed) shoved Beverley back a whole three seconds later. And who was the first Paul teammate to arrive onto the scene and really step to Beverley? You guessed it: Jae Crowder.
Here, watch it again, but skip to the 0:52 mark:
What a shameful act. You, too, Pat!
(As our Carron Phillips points out, perhaps it wasn’t the only time Kaminsky disappeared when his team needed him most.)
In partial seriousness, though, what Beverley did was corny, but Kaminsky isn’t entirely without fault either. Being surprised that your team leader got shoved is one thing, but damn, to barely react after watching him get dropped? You better hope the Milwaukee Bucks don’t win, because Bobby Portis will be on yo ass.