J.J. Watt is a huge fan of Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley

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HOUSTON (AP) When J.J. Watt attended the Houston Rockets’ playoff game on Sunday night, he got a front-row view of Patrick Beverley‘s intensity.

The Houston Texans star defensive end was taken aback when Beverley walked over to his courtside seat during a timeout and simply stood in front of him and stared for several seconds.

“I was like: `Pat, I don’t know what you want me to do here, man. I can’t really do anything,”‘ Watt said. “He’s just staring me down. And my girlfriend looked at me and she was like: `That was kind of cool and kind of awkward at the same time.’ I was like: `Yeah it was.’ I didn’t know what to do.”

Watt finally broke the stalemate by high-fiving the guard, a well-deserved acknowledgement on a night when Beverley scored a playoff career-high 21 points with 10 rebounds and slowed Russell Westbrook with his defense to help Houston rout Oklahoma City 118-87 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

“The guy was just absolutely killing it,” Watt said. “His intensity is the best. I was setting there on the sidelines getting fired up, wanting to get in the game.”

Watt actually thought about rushing on the court for a brief moment in the third quarter on Sunday night to stand up for Beverley. It came when 7-foot Thunder center Steven Adams knocked the 6-1 Beverley to the court on a hard screen just a few feet away from Watt’s seat.

“That dude knocks him out,” Watt said. “And I was like: `OK, we may have a problem you’re messing with my guy Pat.”‘

The Rockets were off on Monday and Beverley wasn’t available for comment, but he tweeted his thanks for Watt’s support by saying that he wants him back for Game 2 on Wednesday night in the same seat he had for the first game.

Watt is known for his fiery demeanor while chasing down quarterbacks on the football field. But even he was a little surprised by Beverley’s ferocity on Sunday night.

“He just has a way of getting you fired up,” Watt said. “He is like the Wolverine out there. He’s fearless. I love the way that guy plays and it was just fun to watch that guy put on a show.”

More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)


Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.