Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley has developed a reputation as a hard-nosed defender with a penchant for agitating opposing players.
However, there are also some people around the league who perceive him as a dirty player. One of the instances that gave him such notoriety was his attempt to steal the ball from Russell Westbrook during the 2013 playoffs that led to the then-Oklahoma City Thunder star sustaining a season-ending injury.
Of course, the play angered a lot of fans. Apparently, Beverley even received a death threat because of it.
“I had a ball boy threaten to kill me,” Beverley said about the the play involving Westbrook during a recent episode of his podcast.
He then continued to narrate what happened in the succeeding days.
“I go back to Houston,” Beverley continued. “Kevin McHale goes, ‘Hey buddy, just watch out for the media. Story has it Westbrook’s out.’ … I don’t even know what happened, right? They made the big story. … I get to OKC the next game — police officers in front. They put a police car in front of my house in Houston. I get to the hotel. I’m on the floor by myself, police guy at the door. I’m looking. I go out in the morning for tea or coffee, like a Starbucks, police guys with me. They passing out papers with a young guy’s face on it, like this big. He threatened to kill. The s— was real.”
The play in question
The infamous play occurred during Game 2 of the 2013 first-round matchup between the Thunder and Houston Rockets, the team Beverley was playing for then. As Oklahoma City was calling for a timeout, Beverley lunged at the ball for a steal. Unfortunately, he made contact with Westbrook’s knee.
While Westbrook was able to finish the game despite the pain, it was later revealed that he suffered a right meniscus tear. The injury required surgery, resulting in him being ruled out for the rest of the playoffs.
Without their star point guard, the first-seeded Thunder got eliminated in the next round by the Memphis Grizzlies. As such, it makes sense that a lot of Oklahoma City supporters lashed out at Beverley. After all, the play might have been unnecessary because the Thunder had already called the timeout.
The beef continues
A similar incident between the two protagonists occurred around five years later. During a regular season matchup between Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers early in the 2018-19 season, Beverley went for a loose ball and dove in the direction of his rival’s knees.
Although it looked like there was no ill intent on Beverley’s part, Westbrook understandably got heated because of the play.
Letting bygones be bygones
For years, the beef between the two strong-willed guards was well-documented. However, they likely have moved on from it, especially since they are now on the same side.
They are looking to help the Lakers fight for a playoff spot this season. Unfortunately, the teammates have a steep hill to climb as Los Angeles is near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. It remains to be seen if the Purple and Gold can bounce back.