The Brooklyn Nets capped off their five-game west coast trip against Kawhi Leonard and the second-place Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday Night. With all the star power on the court in the game, combined with the fireworks from the last matchup between the two teams you could almost sense that things would get chippy. It did not take long for that prediction to come true.
James Harden & Patrick Beverley Exchange Blows
During the first quarter of the game, Nets’ guard James Harden was pushing the ball up the court on a fast break and was fouled hard by Clippers’ guard Patrick Beverley. The hard foul led to Harden getting in the face of Beverley which led to the two former teammates shoving each other until the referees had to separate them.
Beverley who is known for being one of the league’s best irritants and a defensive pest was Harden’s teammate in Houston for five seasons from 2012-2017. Beverley was also apart of the trade that brought Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Houston Rockets in the Summer of 2017. Beverley had reportedly requested a trade from the Rockets before the team had even planned to try to land Chris Paul according to the Houston Chronicle.
Harden’s Famous Crossover on Beverley
Harden also had one of the sickest crossovers ever on Beverley during the 2019-20 season when he was still on the Rockets. Harden at the time was the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player and was facing off against the NBA’s newest super team Kawhi, Paul George, and the Clippers.
With his Rockets down by one with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Harden hit Beverley with an ankle-breaking crossover and capped it off with an and-one three-pointer that led to a four-point play.
Beverley Has Mad Respect for Harden
While Beverley is one of the fiercest competitors on the court he still has a ton of respect for his former teammate which he detailed during a 2018 Interview with Parth Upadhyaya of the Houston Chronicle.
“I’ve learned a ton under James (Harden). (I watched) how hard he works at his craft, how hard he competes (and) how hard he plays on both ends of the floor, Beverley said to the Houston Chronicle.
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“I wanted to see if I could step out of my realm and get that type of responsibility. I wanted a bigger opportunity for myself. I was fortunate to be able to have that with the Clippers. (I was) super excited with how the season started. I played real well. It’s just unfortunate (that the) injury (happened). I’m super excited, still, to have that same opportunity and still be able to compete,“said Beverley.
The Clippers and Nets both sit at second place in their respective conferences. With Brooklyn continuing to trend upward in the Eastern Conference and Lakers’ star Anthony Davis nursing an Achilles injury for at least the next four weeks, it is a real possibility that the Nets and Clippers could meet again in this year’s NBA Finals.