Imagine a healthy, wild kid when the last zoom lesson of the day is over and he can finally play.
« Super cheered! » Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said ahead of Wednesday’s game in Minneapolis where Beverley resumed activity with a pain in his right knee after missing eight games. « I and the coaches were just talking about that – he’s happy to be back and we’re happy to have him. »
Beverley started on his return Wednesday, joining a cast that was short superstar Paul George (bone edema on right toe) but still featured Reggie Jackson, who started in Beverley’s place.
After four days of pain-free practice on the pitch, Beverley was cleared for Wednesday’s game, said Lue, who noted the 32-year-old would have a minute limit the details of which he refused to elaborate.
Without Beverley, the Clippers went 4-4 in the last few weeks and their defensive rating fell to 112.2 during this period, a few ticks above 110.1 before.
« We miss his defense because we can guard the basketball, because we can guard the pick and roll that we’ve struggled with in recent games, » said Lue, noting that Nicolas Batum is Beverley’s return particularly Nic takes a little break from protecting the best player every night … running around with all the guys. »
In Beverley, the clippers also integrate another competent 3-point threat. The 6-foot-1 guard shoots a career best of 41.4% from the deep this season – in addition to 4.4 rebounds per game, the sixth most at the Clippers.
Although Kawhi Leonard said he made a concerted effort to get louder in Beverley’s absence, there is simply no replication of Beverley’s bark.
« We want Kawhi to continue to vocalize. He did a good job of setting a good example, but staying vocal and hearing from his teammates means a lot, » said Lue. « We definitely missed Pat’s voice too. You can’t miss that, you can hear it everywhere. »
Star Center Karl-Anthony Towns was back on the grid after missing 13 games as he recovered from the coronavirus.
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Towns hasn’t played since January 15 when he announced he tested positive. In April, he lost his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, to the virus, to which Towns also lost six other family members.
Before the game, Minnesota manager Ryan Saunders paid tribute to Towns’ hard work preparing for his return, as well as his mental and emotional strength as he has openly dealt with so much personal agony over the past few months.
« It takes a lot of courage in so many different ways, » Saunders said of Towns, a 25-year-old two-time all-star. “Many people have experienced grief and loss. You hear it, but until you live it you don’t understand that grief is not linear. Everyone goes through ups and downs.
“Karl has done an incredible job in my opinion, coping with any kind of low moments he may have so that he can be a light to other people. And I think this should be talked about more.
« We wish we had more games so far this year, but it just wasn’t in the cards. » But at the end of the day, the impact it has on people and how it is pronounced with what it treats will have more impact than anything it can do on the court. »
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