After trying for a steal on the play that injured Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverly has become disliked – in some cases, to extreme levels – among Thunder fans.
So, now that the series has shifted back to Oklahoma City, nobody is taking any chances. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Arena security stationed a police officer behind bench already as Pat Beverley stretches. Building not open yet.
Pretty hefty police presence around the Rockets’ end of the court. Fake tough guys will have to stick to Twitter
In addition of officers on court for Beverley’s early warmups before doors opened, there were two on the bus. They’re not kidding around.
It’s in that backdrop Beverly becomes one of the most pivotal players in this series. Jeremy Lin is a game-time decision, but the Rockets have been much better with Beverly than Lin on both ends of the court in the playoffs.
- Offensive rating with Lin: 88.0
- Offensive rating with Beverly: 105.3
- Defensive rating with Lin: 116.6
- Defensive rating with Beverly: 107.2
Beverly has shot 6-of-16 on 3-pointers against Oklahoma City, making him one of several Rockets to step up from beyond the arc. Francisco Garcia (9-of-19), Chandler Parsons (10-of-27) and Carlos Delfino (11-of-30) are also making their 3-pointers.
In theory, those shots should help space the floor for James Harden, though he’ll have to perform better than he did in Game 4 (4-for-12, 10 turnovers).
But a lot of that positive action is sparked by Beverly, who will certainly be feeling the heat tonight.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.