This isn’t the first time Beverley has fallen foul of the Oklahoma fans, who still remember the Houston man taking out Russell Westbrook in the 2013 playoffs and leaving him with a torn meniscus. While the rugged point guard is routinely booed when playing against the Thunder, this latest incident was seen as slightly more serious. Having exchanged insults on a number of occasions throughout the game, Beverley and the Thunder fan – thought the be the son of one of Oklahoma City’s minority owners, Jay Scaramucci – had to be separated at the end of the game.
While the Chicago native doesn’t score the same amount of points as many of the best guards in the league, his determination in defense and his work rate make him an extremely valuable member of this Houston team. With a $25,000 fine to pay, Beverley will hope that is the end of the matter, and he can focus on helping the Rockets progress to the Conference Finals.
The Rockets, who won the series 4-1, showed against the Thunder that even if they go behind in a first half, punters could do a lot worse than take advantage of the live odds and back this team to be ahead on the scoreboard by the end of the fourth quarter. Despite his often overlooked role, being able to call upon a player like Beverley makes this Rockets team a very tough one to beat.
With the Beverley issue seemingly resolved, Houston’s focus will switch to James Harden’s injured ankle, which the star guard played with as the Rockets beat Oklahoma 113-109 Game 4 victory. The former Thunder star has been in remarkable form this season, but the injury restricted Harden to just 16 points in Game 4, his lowest tally this postseason. Harden’s below-par showing ended up not mattering, with Nene coming off the bench to score a team-high 28 points, tying the NBA record for most shots without missing after hitting 12 straight as Houston put one foot in the next round.
Harden has been in sensational form this season, producing career-high figures in both his average assists-per-game as well as his point-per-game tally. The five-time NBA All Star will be crucial to the Rockets’ hopes of progressing to the latter stages of this season’s playoffs, and coaching staff will now have a decision to make regarding whether or not to let their best player rest his ankle or try everything they can to keep him out on the court. If they can do that, and Harden isn’t too restricted, Houston have a very real chance this year.