(News4usonline) – The two-headed dragon for the Los Angeles Clippers these days are in the form of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. That’s a no-brainer given the hype and hoopla around the two superstars.
But against the Boston Celtics, Clippers would not have been able to pull off their 10th win of the season if it had not been for a player more concentrated on getting things done on the defensive side of the ball rather than worry about his offensive stats.
The Clippers got the best of both world from defensive specialist Patrick Beverley. Yes, remember him? After scoring 14 points, including a dagger 3-pointer in the closing moments of the Clippers’ 107-104 overtime win against the Celtics, without question the team’s game ball had to go to Beverley. That’s because Beverley came through in another way for the Clippers.
“From past experiences playing against him, he is just a real aggressive player on the defensive end,” Leonard said. “On the floor, he is trying to talk, make you get technical fouls, just trying to get in your head pretty much throughout the game and play good defense. Now, just being on the team with him, you see the background, what he does day in and day out, you get to know him a little bit better. [You get to] know his mindset, how he feels
coming into games and the challenges he has for himself.”
With Leonard playing a sub-par game (17 points), Beverley went to work on the boards, grabbing a game-high 16 rebounds and came through with seven assists on the evening. Clippers coach Doc Rivers signaled Beverley out for his play against the Celtics, the hottest team in the Eastern Conference.
“We gave him a game ball. I didn’t know we were giving game balls, but we gave him a game ball because he deserved it. I thought he literally, single-handedly willed that game with his effort, with his rebounding and making plays. He is from Chicago. He’s a tough kid. He was phenomenal.”
In a display of their defensive excellence, the Clippers held the Celtics to 39 percent shooting from the floor. Boston converted 41 of the 104 shots it attempted from the field. To clarify the defensive pressure the Clippers rained down on the Celtics, Boston guard Kemba Walker had a terrible shooting night, going 4 of 17 from the field for 13 points. Beverley talked about matching up against Walker after the game.
“We understand that he’s an all-star for a reason, we just wanted to provide him with different bodies, lay off the traps, send him to [Ivica Zubac],” Beverley said. “I think [Kawhi Leonard] had a block on him. He’s a great player, not one person can stop a player like that as a team, we did it collectively tonight.”
Boston was led by Jayson Tatum, who scored a game-high 30 points, while Lou Williams (27 points) and Paul George (25 points) led the way for the Clippers.