Patrick Beverley has become a household name for NBA fans during these playoffs, thanks to his involvement in the play that led to Russell Westbrook’s season-ending torn meniscus injury.
As the series between the Rockets and the Thunder shifted back to Oklahoma City for the first time since the incident, Beverley was targeted by fans and Thunder players as the villain, despite the fact that the play that injured Westbrook was in no way a dirty one, and happens every single night during the regular season.
Midway through the first quarter of Houston’s Game 5 win, the Thunder’s Reggie Jackson decided it would be a good idea to put Beverley on the receiving end of the type of play that ultimately sidelined Westbrook, and aggressively went for a steal as Beverley was in the midst of signaling for a timeout.
Beverley knew exactly what Jackson was trying to do here, so he gave him a little bump after the whistle to let him know he would be willing to defend himself if the Thunder wanted to take up this nonexistent cause of retaliating in Westbrook’s honor.
Beverley was immediately whistled for a technical foul, and I think that was the wrong decision by the officials.
The referees had to have been aware of the situation, and especially on a similar play that involved Beverley and Westbrook, they should have let Beverley’s reaction go with a no-call.
Additionally, if you look at the two plays side by side, Westbrook was still in the process of collecting the ball, and Beverley had a legitimate chance to steal it. In the Game 5 play involving Jackson, Beverley had already picked up his dribble and the referee had blown the whistle before Jackson was able to make contact, which to me, makes these two very different scenarios.