Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers pushes Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center on June 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
By Terrance Turner
May 16, 2022
The Phoenix Suns lost Game 7 of their playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks last night in embarrassing fashion. According to USA Today, “The Suns trailed by 30 at halftime, the largest deficit in a Game 7 at half in NBA history, and went on to lose 123-90.” Suns shooting guard Devin Booker had 11 points; point guard Chris Paul had just 10. They were the only Suns players in double digits.
This morning, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley re-ignited a long-simmering beef with Paul on ESPN. Appearing as a guest on ESPN’s “Get Up”, Beverley said Suns coach Monty Williams should’ve benched Paul. ‘I’m going to get a lot [of flak] for this, but I don’t really care. They benched the wrong person. Should’ve benched Chris,” Beverley said Monday on Get Up. “And I’m not saying bench him now. Once you see they started attacking Chris early and you know that might become a problem later on, you need to see how the team works without Chris in the game a little bit.” He later walked that back: “Not benched,” he clarified, “Spurts and spurts.”
Beverley added: “Do guys in the NBA go to sleep early the night before playing the Phoenix Suns? Hell no. No. I’m going to Steak 44 over there in Phoenix, I’m gonna have me a nice little wine, probably sweat it out in the pregame shoot-around and get ready for Chris Paul. Steph Curry? I’m going to bed at 8 o’clock. Mom, don’t call me. My girl, don’t call me. I’m locked in right now.”
“Ain’t nobody worried about Chris Paul when we play the Phoenix Suns. Nobody in the NBA,” he said. He finessed the game to a point where he gets all the petty calls, all the swipe-throughs at the end — I mean, this guy is out –we’re gonna be honest? We’re gonna be realy honest? He should have fouled out,” Beverly said. “He can’t guard. He literally can’t guard.”
Host Stephen A. Smith asked incredulously, “He can’t guard? Chris Paul can’t guard anybody, is that what you’re saying?”
Beverley answered: “Did you see the… no, he can’t! Everyone knows that.”
Stephen A. Smith: “Excuse me, I don’t know that. I haven’t heard anybody tell me that.”
Patrick Beverley: “Yeah, cause you haven’t suited up. You know guys don’t like to tell you all the truth, you know that, because they scared…Man, CP can’t guard nobody, man. Everybody in the NBA knows that. Everybody know that. What [do] we call it? Cone. You know what you do with cones, like in the summertime, you got a cone. You make a move. What does the cone do?”
Host Mike Greenberg answered: “Stays still.”
“Exactly, he’s a cone. Stop playing man, everybody knows that. Everyone knows that, it’s just y’all don’t want to accept it because he’s CP… but give him the Ben Simmons slander. Give him the PG-13 slander. Give him the slander that you give everybody.” (To be fair, Paul actually showed up to play this playoff series; Simmons has missed nearly an entire year with self-described mental health issues and, more recently, a back problem.)
Smith pushed back on that statement: “Don’t compare CP3 to Ben Simmons,” Smith countered, prompoting a debate in which Beverley’s inflted ego was on display. “You, a consider an elite defender,” Smith said.
“The best in the world,” Beverley shot back (with a straight face!)
The exchange between Smith and Beverley is embedded below:
Then, appearing on “First Take,” Beverley upped the ante. “Why are we — again — I don’t want to keep beating on the same drum — but why are we steady mentioning Phoenix Suns like an established basketball team?”
“Because they were the defending Western Conference Champions last year and they won 64 games this year,” Smith answered.
Beverley later added: “Ain’t nobody afraid of anybody over there in Phoenix […] I talked to Paul George last night , man. Ain’t nobody scared of them.” He went on to say that he doesn’t think of Paul as an all-time point guard.
Commentator J.J. Redick talked about Suns player DeAndre Ayton sacrificing his usage. “He views himself as a max player and then you get to the playoffs and you go halves without him touching the basketball a lot of that has to do with the Dallas defense, ’cause again, they’re not operating in drop coverage; he’s not getting those little 15-point floaters, he’s not getting the pocket passes all the way to the rim and so there’s a level of frustration through games –“
“Then go get it off the rim,” Beverley said. “‘Cause it’s a lot of bricks that Booker and CP3 are putting up there.”
Beverley and Paul have a long history. The Houston Rockets acquired Paul in 2017, in a trade that sent Beverley, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and a host of other players to the Los Angeles Clippers. Last July, Beverley was ejected and then suspended for shoving Paul in the back and knocking him to the ground. The incident, for which Beverley was assessed a technical foul and ejected, occurred with 5:49 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 130-103 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on June 30 at Staples Center.
Beverley was suspended for the first game of the 2021-22 NBA regular season for which he is eligible to play, according to the NBA. On an episode of former player JJ Redick’s podcast, Beverley was asked what specifically happened between him and Chris Paul in the final moments of that game.
“You know Chris, so people don’t understand. Me and Chris, what we have has been going on since high school,” Beverley said. “A lot of people don’t understand the backstory, but me and Chris, we definitely understand the backstory. I got invited to a LeBron James camp, the big Nike LeBron James camp when we was in college… Chris Paul was there. I killed him. Destroyed him… Then I see him in the NBA, so of course that energy is gonna roll over to the NBA.”
Beverley said, “Chris, he does slick shit. People don’t know. That’s a dirty little motherf–ker, man. Chris know that, too… And I love CP, bro. I love what he bring to the game. I love, like – he changed the game also. So you have to give him all his props. But like, he knows how to finesse the system too, and you gotta give him credit for that too. So it was just one of those I had to get off my chest. And I called him right after, too.”
Unclear if Beverley will call Paul after this latest development. Stay tuned…
UPDATE: Former Los Angeles Clippers player Matt Barnes called Beverley out today for what Barnes felt were disrespectful comments. “As Chris knows, he didn’t play well from games 3 to 7, and he’ll tell you that. But what I want to touch on real quick is the disrespect I saw from Pat Beverely earlier today.
As reporters, you know, as part of the media, we have a job to be critical. But I think there’s a thin line between being critical and disrespectful. And I feel like what Pat Bevereley did to Chris Paul today was completely disrespectful and out of the line. And Pat Beverley is talking like he’s that guy. You’re not that guy. Plain and simple,” Barnes said. “Chris Paul played terrible this year, and his numbers are still better than your career numbers have ever been, ” Barnes said.
“I just think you have to understand: Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star, he played terrible [but] seven-time 1st Team All-Defense — he’ll be a Hall of Fame player. Pat Bev and I were similar-type role-players; they won’t talk about us when we go; they’re gonna talk about CP3 when he’s done, and I just think the disrespect we saw earlier today on ESPN shows need to be checked, ’cause he was way outta pocket.”