Beverley dirty? Not according to Pop

By Fran Blinebury, NBA.com


VIDEO: Rick Fox and Chris Webber discuss Patrick Beverley’s defense

SAN ANTONIO — Dirty or aggressive?

Tom-AY-to, tom-AH-to.

Little Pat Beverley gets into a couple of dust-ups in back-to-back games with Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook and suddenly he’s a combination of Jack the Ripper and Hannibal Lecter in high-tops.

Oh, the horror!

Where are the days when the Bad Boys of Detroit roamed the earth? When John Stockton to Malone was two guys from Utah who used their elbows like meat axes? When the Washington Bullets front line included Jeff Ruland and Rick Mahorn, aka McFilthy and McNasty? You figure out which was which.

While social media buzzes and the entire state of Oklahoma gets apoplectic at the mere sight of Beverley stepping one foot onto a basketball court, it should be noted that not everyone who isn’t wearing a Rockets jersey doesn’t he’s crossed a line of decorum or fair play.

“I haven’t noticed him being dirty. I’ll say that,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

“When the name Beverley comes up, the first thing that comes to my head is he’s a monster defender and really gets into people and does one helluva job. Maybe he’s done things that I haven’t seen. But I have never thought of him as dirty. I’ve always thought of him as physical and really good at it.”

When asked about the play in Game 2 of the Houston-OKC series last spring when Beverley’s lunge for a steal wound up taking Westbrook out of the playoffs, Popovich shrugged.

“I thought it just happened,” he said. “I don’t think that was purposeful from what I saw.”

According to Pop, it’s intent that makes the difference.

“I just think that probably shows itself in the necessity of the action as far as whether it’s a blatant movement,” he said. “Whether it’s an elbow or a kick or a head-butt or whatever, it might be for no reason whatsoever that doesn’t have anything to do with playing as opposed to physicality. You know, getting up into somebody, touching somebody, blocking out, making hard cuts and making great picks and that sort of thing. That’s an aggressive player. Or somebody who’s always trying to get to the rim. Or somebody who’s always ready to block out and put their body on you. That’s all aggressiveness.

“Dirty is cheap. Cheap stuff that doesn’t really have anything to do with the game. And you can tell the difference pretty easily.”

And before you hurt yourself shouting, the subject of Bruce Bowen did come up. The veteran of eight seasons and three championships with the Spurs was often labeled as dirty for all of the little “tricks” he used on defense.

“Brucie weighed about 83 pounds,” Popovich said. “The guys that guarded him weighed 220 or 200 or something like that. He was a like a gnat. But he was a persistent gnat that drove them crazy with what he could do. But it wasn’t because he was overly physical or anything like that. He had a great understanding of space and had good, quick feet and had a huge desire to be a pain in the neck. He’s still a pain in the neck.”

Perspective matters. Chicago fans didn’t think much of Bad Boy Dennis Rodman’s antics in the paint and under the basket until he switched sides and pulled on a Bulls jersey for those three championships.

Dirty or aggressive?

Tom-AY-to or tom-AH-to?

Bowen or Beverley?

“Hell, yeah,” Popovich said. “I hated Danny Ferry until he was on our team. Bill (Laimbeer) was easy for other fans to hate. But you’d love him on your team. He’d help you win.”

Which is, after all, the point.

35 Comments

  1. Hey Hugo Jacks the Spurs as well as the city of San Antonio hate you back!

  2. BadAd says:

    thank you for posting this the last article i read about beverley was ridiculous

  3. JM says:

    Just play and legt the refs make the call. That’s why you have 3 refs. So many divas and cry babies. What happened to NBA? It has gotten soft. Ewwww.

  4. kobeballhog says:

    He is definitely the dirtiest player in the nba. No disregard for the welfare of others. I do agree last years move on westbrook is legit and not dirty but this year ive seen how he plays he plays to harm others maybe that his way to make up with his total shortcomings as an nba player. Like what they said you love him to be your teammate someone who will knock out the opposing player. He is the new age laimbeer.

  5. Realist2014 says:

    Look at Westbrook’s shooting percentage….he played smothering defense and held him to what 7 of 23 shooting that’s below 33 Pct thus he did his job. Sad you can’t even breathe on someone without it being called a foul. Pop is the Greatest coach ever. He takes random players with names you never heard of and all of a sudden they are this collective group with no real “Focus Player” to guard so you’re forced to defend everyone and have to pick your poison. Master tactician. If he confirms it and he has 4 rings I don’t I’m gonna listen.

  6. Migs says:

    NBA has lots of dirty players like KG and old bruce bowen, lots of cry babies as well like Howard and James

  7. Hugo Jacks says:

    I hate the Spurs, but believe Pop (not Phil or others) is unquestionably the greatest coach ever, and while I’ll save my reasoning for ‘best head coach ever’ for another convo —- if the same coach – who is 0-3 vs the Rockets AND Thunder this year – says Patrick Beverley isn’t dirty…. then it’s a pretty simple conclusion: Patrick Beverley isn’t dirty…. Pop saw this and the media & fans can’t? It’s funny how people point fingers at Bev for being ‘dirty’ after he aggressively went for a steal when Westbrook was about to call a timeout but it’s even funnier given the irony that Westbrook did the same type of play (Bev did) to Lin just the game BEFORE lol…
    Looking back – if it had been Reggie Jackson or even if Westbrook had not torn his ACL, this story (& a lot others) doesn’t exist & Beverley’s ‘dirty’ style of play is now praised & deemed as ‘Aggressive Defense who you’d love to play with – not against’… If Pop said it then i’ll believe it and I can only hope that Beverely plays EXACTLY the same as Tuesday and for rest of the year….

  8. RJ says:

    Man up, people… Also, Popovich coaches the smartest basketball in the league. He advocates this kind of gritty play. That’s because tough basketball is part of real basketball.

    The only thing I didn’t really like is the other night when Westbrook and Beverley went on the floor, Beverley still tried to pop the ball loose from behind, and when he did that, he went over Westbrook’s head with his left arm instead of twisting around his right side more. But if he had popped the ball loose, he may have landed elsewhere to grab the ball. It was a failed attempt at a steal, and a foul. But if I got a guy sitting on the floor with the ball, I’m gonna try to take it.

  9. Patty says:

    Beverly is a Great Player.

  10. rick says:

    If the whistle didn’t blow its not dirty in sports such as football and basketball you are told to play to the whistle blow. So what if Westbrook ran to the sideline like they were calling timeout and took off to score would that be dirty no you play to the whistle blow end of story.

  11. Game Time says:

    He’s a player that doesn’t worry about how his style of defense can injure another player. It’s not really dirty, but most players don’t do things to jeopardize another players health.

  12. Bu says:

    I’ve said it before. when is crunch time, would you do whatever you can to disrupt the player (without hurting a person of course) to win an NBA championship, or retract to the “I’m not a dirty player mode” and play straight up, AND call you own fouls???? Like Kenny Smith or some other player said, many fans, bball organization & their staff / jobs depends on winning.

    Watch the McHale & Bird comments on who they hate in the bad boys. They don’t hate Dumars, Rodman, Mahorn & Thomas. They simply hate Laimbeer as he was trying to hurt / injure players. That’s real dirtiness!!!

  13. marlon green says:

    I haven’t seen him play enough to say if he is a dirty player or not. But the incident with him last year was uncalled for. And then to do the excact same thing to the same player again this year. Yeah that’s dirty. I have no problem with tough physical defense, but when someone calls a time out then the play is over. That’s just like in football when someone waives for a fair catch and someone nails him anyway.

    • jOLAN says:

      how was last years play uncalled for? He went for the steal as Westbrook called a time out. He got there as the whistle was blown. Westbrook himself has done the exact same play, that time just ended up badly with a fluke injury.

    • rick says:

      Really that’s what’s wrong with today’s game you base your opinions off of stats which is nice when someone scores etc. You say lin statistically better lin could not guard Westbrook like that charges, diving on the floor, hustling for loose ball’s aren’t statistics they dnt need a point guard on the floor with harden he is the facilitator they need a dog who ain’t scared to get up in a player like Westbrook face and knock down open js. Pie please that is what you base your opinion off of ricky Rubio leads the league in steals he is definitely not the best defender in the league not even close. And one more thing that’s not dirty until the whistle blow.

      • RP says:

        Then based on what you say you agree it was dirty. I’m watching the game again as I reply and the whistle had definitely blown in plenty of time for play to have stopped. Unless he is deaf, it was blatant on Beverly’s part.

    • Hugo Jacks says:

      How exactly was Pat Beverley’s move on Westbrook last year uncalled for? Did happen to you watch the previous playoff game between them where Westbrook did the EXACT same thing to Lin? While it doesn’t happen every game, I’ve seen multiple occasions where players have faked ‘time outs’ in order to score/make a sudden/unexpected move after drawing player(s) on the opposing defense to let their guard down… This was the EXACT same case…. You play until you hear the whistle – there was no whistle when Bev went after Westbrook last year AND this year… was it aggressive? yes. was it dirty? possibly…. was it called? nope… so was it fair? yup…..

  14. Joe J. says:

    You guys are defending someone whom has the worst Pie and Efficiency rating for a starting point guard in the whole league. I was curious one day and did the research. He really does have the lowest. And he isn’t that great of a defender. He is an average defender. Jeremy Lin is statistically a better defender. On most teams Beverly wouldn’t be a starter…which makes me wonder why Coach McHale can’t get his team to have chemistry with their best point guard. Does McHale hate Lin? Does his Teammates not like him? Something is just strange about all of it. And nobody is raising Questions why someone with a 6.6 Pie is allowed to be a starter on a good team.

    • rick says:

      Boy stop

    • rick says:

      No need to defend pie is a stat his play can’t be examined by. Rubio leads the league in steals is he the best defender no. Knocks down open threes play hell of defense sounds like someone who should start on s team that don’t need scorers they need defensive stops with him guarding point guards like that and Dwight in the paint that’s a good recipe.

    • Robert says:

      Wtf does this articles has anything to do with Lin? Lin is a bench warmer he will never be a starter in the league EVER! If Mchale hates Lin he would’ve had taken him out of the rotation a month ago when he played horribly. Lin lovers always makes everything about Lin like he’s Michael Jordan or something. Beverly is what the league wants in every PG. to be aggressive n play great defense. Lin is what every bench team wants, to be the 6th man not the 15th man!

  15. Johnel says:

    Pat beverly is a monster on both ends he has a nice floater and a 3point shot.

  16. mee(a)t says:

    God bless coach pop *tear*
    ; n;

  17. Pat ain’t dirty at all. He’s putting some venom in this game. This is a very good example of what I would want to see more on the floor. I want a battle not theater!!! KG, Noah, T. Allen & Pat are making a game worth to watch.

    Keep on doing your thing guys. Don’t change your paying identity.

    • r says:

      no, KG is dirty and teaches those around him to play dirty

      he elbows guys in mid air to the rim and puts shoulders to people’s jaws lining up for freethrows

      sorry but KG is dirty and it has rubbed off on many his teammates

  18. Inanyo says:

    There’s just too many Divas in the NBA today, that they don’t want to get touched or be defended well. Patrick Beverly is not targeting to hurt anyone, he’s just there to defend the ball handler and be a pain in the a$$ to his opponent. He was tagged with this because of what happened with him and Westbrook a year ago. Watch the film again and you can’t deny he is after the ball, and not on Westbrook’s knees.

    You want a dirty player? DWade is your man. Its not defense when you push someone who already had a clear path on a fastbreak (vs. Collison, Indiana), or you knee someone on the groin (vs. Sessions, Bobcats). Its even dirtier when you create space by kicking someone’s feet/legs while driving for a lay-up (vs. KG, Boston… and some other guys), and when you drag your defender down when you trip while dribbling (vs. Rondo, Boston). This is not about basketball, its just hurting players.

    • r says:

      the only time i’ve ever seen d wade attack someone is cause someone just attacked his teammate, he does will get revenge every time and it sends a good message to not play dirty or you will get your own medicine in return

    • krishawn-MIA says:

      Everyone pushes/shoves/fouls hard on a fastbreak to avoid the easy basket-the sessions thing was clearly not intentional-and the rondo thing was really not intentional only because he got injured it was a hoopla

  19. Carlo says:

    I remember seeing Rondo pushing an opponent with two hands against the side table. But Rondo was a star and the opponent (don’t remember who) wasn’t. Nobody even mentioned Rondo as dirty.
    The clash with Beverley hurted Westbrook, who is a star. So Beverley is dirty.
    As with any other opinion, it should be left to other players (all of them, not just the one Westbrook). Let’s make a players’ poll about Beverley being dirty or not.
    Fans’ opinion counts around ZERO.

  20. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    Nicely said! Players are out there in win ballgame. Players these days are too soft on defense. Especially when Pat was out of the league after drafted by LA and then trade to Miami and got released. I expect Pat to continue this kind of defense when playoffs time comes. Hope they’ll eventually meet OKC.

  21. jake s. says:

    Pop is also speaking against his hardest finals match up.

  22. bryanjoelgarcia says:

    Because it wasn’t his stud PG Tony Parker.