Patrick Beverley says there was no intent to injure Russell Westbrook

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When the news broke that Russell Westbrook would be out indefinitely after needing to undergo surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus he suffered in the Thunder’s Game 3 win over the Rockets, all eyes turned to Patrick Beverley, and the play where Westbrook was injured.

Beverley ended up knocking knees with Westbrook, on a play where the Rockets guard was trying to steal the ball just before the Thunder were set to call a timeout.

Fans in Oklahoma City (and at the time, even Westbrook himself) seemed angry at Beverley for making this play, one that is routine in the NBA and happens on a nightly basis.

Speaking to reporters after shootaround on Friday, Beverley made it clear that he had no intention of trying to injure Westbrook.

“Unfortunate situation, of course,” he said. “You hate to see the type of player like that go out with an injury like that. But the Thunder are still a good team, and we have to prepare for a good team right now.”

Beverley was asked where he made contact with Westbrook, but said he hasn’t seen a replay of the incident.

“I don’t even remember,” he said. “I haven’t really seen it yet. I really don’t watch ESPN like that, so I haven’t see it yet. But like I said, it’s definitely unfortunate. I was definitely looking forward to playing Westbrook again and battling again. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”

As for whether or not trying to make that play as the opposing team is heading into a timeout is a questionable tactic, Beverley pointed out that it’s relatively common around the league, before making it known that he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone with his aggressive actions.

“A lot of people do it throughout the league,” he said. “Anyone who knows me, I don’t go out there and try to hurt anybody. I play at one speed, that’s fast. I crash for offensive rebounds. I was just trying to make a play on the ball before they called timeout, and a play like that I’ll continue to say, it’s just unfortunate right now.”

Finally, Beverley was asked if he believed the play he made was a basketball one, and whether or not there was anything dirty about it.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I think I tried to make a play on the basketball before he called a timeout. No intention at all to try to injure anybody. Like I said, anyone who knows me knows that’s not my type of game.”

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.