Warriors

Patrick Beverley says he has no beef with Kevin Durant in NBA playoffs

Patrick Beverley says he has no beef with Kevin Durant in NBA playoffs

Beef? What beef?

Apparently there's none between Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley.

Well, at least if you ask the Clippers guard.

"Nah, hell no," Beverley told TMZ on Tuesday night when asked if he has beef with the Warriors star. "I don't got no beef with anybody."

Beverley followed Durant everywhere the much bigger forward went as the Warriors blew a 31-point lead in the Clippers' 135-131 Game 2 win in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Durant was held to just eight shot attempts and turned the ball over nine times. He fouled out with 81 seconds left.

Durant and Beverley both were ejected in the Warriors' Game 1 win. What looks like a rivalry brewing on the court, however, is all fun and games to the veteran guard. 

"It's all fun, man," Beverley said. "It's just two good players, two good teams battlin'. That's about it." 

[RELATED: Beverley sounds off on strategy for guarding Durant]

We'll see what happens next between these two Thursday, as the series turns to Los Angeles for Game 3, all tied up at one win apiece.

Blazers' CJ McCollum describes what separates Warriors from everybody

Blazers' CJ McCollum describes what separates Warriors from everybody

Programming note: Watch the NBA Finals pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

The Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals.

The Dubs also ended Portland's season in 2016 and 2017.

Blazers guard CJ McCollum clearly knows what it's like to face the team that will be playing in its fifth straight NBA Finals.

"The biggest difference you see with the Warriors compared to everybody else is how aligned they are," McCollum said on his podcast, Pull Up. "Obviously, they've had some issues off the court this season. But once they step on that court, the communication is there. The understanding of where everyone is supposed to be is there consistently.

"You don't ever really see them have crazy lapses. Offensively, constant movement off the ball and everyone is always looking to get Steph open; always looking to screen for Klay. And when they're open, the ball is delivered on time and on target consistently."

Steph Curry's numbers were incredible in the sweep: 36.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 47 percent shooting from the field, 42.6 percent from deep.

Klay Thompson averaged 21.5 points, but shot below 38 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Fortunately for the Warriors, they also have that Draymond Green guy. The three-time NBA All-Star averaged 16.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 2.8 blocks and 2.3 steals, while shooting over 54 percent.

That's just nuts.

"What makes them so good is Draymond's ability to make decisions in the pick-and-roll," McCollum said. "He did a great job of pushing the tempo and pushing the pace off makes and misses. He initiated the offense and historically has made the right decision on when to finish around the basket, when to kick it out for a 3 or throw the lob.

"Steph is Steph and Klay is Klay, and KD and the rest of those players. But he's a very unique asset. His defensive presence -- being able to guard five guys. He can guard pick-and-rolls, he can guard in the post. He's the ultimate help defender.

"I think he makes their team go."

[RELATEDDraymond calls no LeBron in playoffs 'kind of a mindf--k']

There's a reason head coach Steve Kerr has been calling Draymond the "heartbeat" of the Warriors for years.

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Mike D'Antoni explains why Warriors have played better without Kevin Durant

Mike D'Antoni explains why Warriors have played better without Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant left Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round playoff series with the Houston Rockets, everyone assumed the two-time defending champions were in a world of trouble.

But after a rocky first half in Game 6, the Dubs brushed aside the Rockets and went on to sweep the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals all without Durant, who continues to rehab his calf strain ahead of the NBA Finals.

The return of the old-school Warriors (if 2015-16 can be considered old school), has led many to wonder if the Dubs are actually better without Durant.

This, of course, is insane. But you don't have to take my word for it. 

Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni had the misfortune of facing both versions of the Warriors during Houston's second-round loss, and he knows it's ridiculous to think the Warriors are better without the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

"They play a little bit differently, but I know one thing: When Kevin went out, everybody and every player and every coach and everybody in the country … who was against them was relieved that Kevin (wasn’t there)," D'Antoni told Sam Amick of The Athletic. "That gives you a clue, to me, that they’re better with him when everybody says, ‘Oh, thank goodness (he’s out).’

"Now, does that mean they’re not (capable of winning it all without him)? Heck, they were really good (before him). They won 73 games and a championship without him one year, and they probably should’ve won two. So it doesn’t mean they can’t win and be an unbelievable team, but Kevin Durant is just a special player. And again, I think without a doubt they’re better with him. But they’re really good without him also."

The Warriors have taken their play to another level with Durant out. D'Antoni thinks the improved level of play is a mixture of desperation and letting other players shine in different roles.

"Well, I think it puts them into more of a desperation mode," D'Antoni said. "We don’t have Kevin, and so yeah (they’re) more desperate. Do they turn it up a ways? Yeah, probably. But again, I think where they’ve gotten beside the point (in that discussion) is that we know how good the Splash Brothers and Kevin are, but Draymond Green is playing at a very, very high level, and he’s as valuable – if (not) more valuable – than anybody.

"They’ve got a bunch of players who can go, and missing one, I just think, made them more aware of what they needed to do. "

Without Durant, the Warriors looked vulnerable. But the Rockets swung and missed at the champs yet again, allowing Steph Curry to explode for 33 second-half points in Game 6 to eliminate them. 

So, what went wrong for Houston?

"We gave them too many shots," D'Antoni said. "You cannot give them extra possessions. We did that. We didn’t rebound the ball well, so that means we weren’t in transition as much as we should’ve been. And their defense, in a set half-court, is really, really good. I think the combinations of those two things, just getting out in transition and how we couldn’t do it because of the rebounding, I think that killed us. That killed us.

"We actually shot, probably, better than them for most of the series. I don’t know about the last game, but most of the series we shot better. So we did our parts on a lot of it, and I thought our defense was good. They made some great individual plays at the end of Game 6 – some great individual plays. What Steph did on a couple shots, and Klay (Thompson) in the first half (in which he had 21 of his 27 points), and then Steph in the second half. They have that championship mentality, and we just couldn’t snuff it out of them.”

[RELATED: How KD's early NBA Finals absence affects Warriors' matchups]

After losing to the Warriors yet again in the playoffs, the Rockets have to go back to the drawing board to find a way to knock off the champs.

That's no easy task, no matter what Durant decides to do in free agency.