Shaquille O’Neal says Patrick Beverley shoving Chris Paul in the back during the WCF wasn’t a cheap shot

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t believe that Patrick Beverley’s shove of Chris Paul in the playoffs during the 2020-21 season was a cheap shot.

During the Western Conference Finals that season, Paul hit a big fadeaway jumper to give the Phoenix Suns a huge lead in Game 6. Beverley, who was playing for the Los Angeles Clippers at the time, appeared to take offense to something Paul did or said and shoved him in the back when he wasn’t looking.

Beverely, who was recently traded to the Lakers in a deal with the Utah Jazz, is known for his toughness and strong defensive ability. While the play in the Western Conference Finals certainly looked dirty, O’Neal had a different take on a recent episode of The Big Podcast.

“That’s not a cheap shot,” O’Neal said.

He continued to defend Beverley, questioning Paul’s reaction to the entire situation.

“I don’t care, how about that?” O’Neal said. “I’ll tell you what, if Chris Paul was so mad, how come he didn’t meet him in the back by the busses?”

While everyone is going to have their own opinion on Beverley’s shove that night, there’s no doubt he gives the Lakers an edge to their roster that they didn’t have before.

Last season for Minnesota, Beverley averaged 9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 40.6 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from beyond the arc. He should be able to run the point guard position for Los Angeles while also taking on tougher defensive assignments every night.

There’s a chance that Beverley and Paul will be reunited in a playoff battle in the 2022-23 season, as the Lakers and Suns both have their sights set on contending for a title this season.

While Los Angeles may need a few more tweaks to its roster in the offseason, there’s no doubt that any team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis is a force to be reckoned with.

O’Neal, a Hall of Famer and Lakers legend, already has Beverley’s back, and it appears he’s a fan of the team bringing in the defensive-minded guard for the 2022-23 campaign.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.