Warriors

Patrick Beverley sounds off on strategy for guarding Kevin Durant in Game 2

Patrick Beverley sounds off on strategy for guarding Kevin Durant in Game 2

Patrick Beverley scored 10 points and dished out five assists in the Los Angeles Clippers' comeback win over the Warriors on Monday in Game 2 of their first-round NBA playoffs series. He was plus-1, but his value goes so much further than the stats show. 

Listed at just 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Beverley hounded Warriors star Kevin Durant, who stands just shy of 7-feet. Durant only attempted eight shots from the field and committed nine turnovers. He fouled out with 81 seconds left and the Warriors leading by two points. The Clippers completed their historic comeback when rookie Landry Shamet banged a 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining to help boost the Clippers to a 135-131 win. 

Asked how he held Durant to only eight shots, the Clippers guard kept it short and simple. 

After a long pause, all he said was, "Be Pat." 

“I just feel like he’s the best, you know?” Beverley said to The Athletic after the Clippers' win. “No disrespect to their team, but he’s one of the best players in the world. Him and Steph are two (of the best) – top six, they’d have to be … in the world. I felt like me covering KD would help our team and I wanted to set the tone.”

Whether it was constantly toeing the line of fouling or trying to distract Durant at the free throw line, Beverley did his job. It was clear in the second half as the Warriors' 31-point lead started to dwindle, he was winning the outcome of this battle. 

But if you ask Beverley, he's not playing mind games. All he's doing is playing the only brand of basketball he knows. 

“I don’t try to get in people’s head man,” Beverley told reporters. “I can’t help (that) people get irritated by me. It’s not my fault. I go out there and I try to be the best defender on the f---ing planet, consistently – (day) in and out, in and out. I take my role, I take my job, very seriously, and I do it for my teammates.

"I understand my role, and I understand how to get stops. KD is not an easy cover, but it’s fun out there for sure.”

[RELATED: Can Warriors learn from embarrassing Game 2 collapse to Clippers?]

Both Durant and Beverley were ejected in the Warriors' Game 1 win. Before Game 2, Durant vowed to take a different approach with Beverley

As this series heads to Los Angeles at one win apiece, he better find a whole new plan for Game 3.

NBA Draft 2020: Watch Warriors' potential target Deni Avdija dominate

NBA Draft 2020: Watch Warriors' potential target Deni Avdija dominate

Deni Avdija -- a potential top-five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft -- had a really good game Monday for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The 19-year-old forward racked up 24 points (8-for-14 overall, 4-for-8 3s), seven rebounds and four assists in a 100-69 win.

The Warriors are guaranteed to end up with a top-five selection, and could target Avdija if they decide to keep the pick.

"They should consider Avdija given his versatility, experience, modern fit and basketball instincts," ESPN's Mike Schmitz wrote in mid-June. "A Curry-Thompson-Wiggins-Avdija-Green small-ball lineup could be one of the most dynamic and versatile in the NBA."

He is "big enough to play power forward but has the ballhandling, creativity and playmaking skill of a point guard," Schmitz wrote in mid-May. "At his best operating out of pick-and-roll, where he displays excellent timing and vision, allowing him to make every read and pass in the book.

"Aggressive offensive player who is in attack mode every time he steps onto the floor. Loves shooting pull-up 3-pointers in transition. Brings toughness, competitiveness and swagger."

[RELATED: Sources: Warriors scouted draft prospect Avdija in Israel]

The Israeli-Serbian prospect is averaging 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists in five games since the Israeli Basketball Premier League restarted June 21.

The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled for Aug. 25, while the draft is slated for Oct. 16.

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[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Mike D'Antoni pokes fun at Rockets' defense with social distancing joke

Mike D'Antoni pokes fun at Rockets' defense with social distancing joke

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni spoke with the media via Zoom on Tuesday morning.

When asked how he plans on coaching in Orlando while maintaining a six-foot distance from his players, the two-time NBA Coach of the Year went the joke route.

"That's how we guard anyways," he said sarcastically.

The Rockets -- who will enter the seeding games tied for fifth in the Western Conference at 40-24 -- have the No. 16 ranked defense in the NBA.

But when a reporter said, "The numbers say that this team defends well in the clutch against the top 10 teams -- do you believe that?" D'Antoni busted out his comedy routine again, and then provided an explanation.

"We're not a very analytic group here," he joked. "Do I believe in the numbers against better teams? Yeah, because they have our attention. And a lot of the mistakes that we make are either we just don't pay attention, we got bored (or) we try to outscore them."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

A perfect example of this came on Christmas Day when the Warriors -- who entered the matchup at 7-24 -- shot over 47 percent from the field and beat the Rockets 116-104.

And speaking of the Warriors:

"Let's take past years -- when Golden State came here and we had to defend, most of our games were in the 90s," D'Antoni said. "So we have the ability. I get frustrated because we don't do it all the time.

"They gotta gear up to be the best defensive team in Orlando. We can do it. We'll see if we will."

Citing past years probably isn't the best idea, but we'll move on.

[RELATED: Morey admits he let Harden down in Rockets' title quest]

D'Antoni is 69 years old and still hasn't received full clearance from the NBA that he will be allowed to coach in Orlando. If he does get the green light, he plans on wearing a mask during games.

"I don't think it will interfere with my coaching," he told reporters. "Referees won't be able to see my lips moving so they won't know if I'm yelling at them or not. That's a plus. I don't see the downside of it right now.

"Maybe I'll change it once I get into the heat of the moment."

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