In somewhat surprising news, Doc Rivers announced in the Clippers pregame press conference that Pat Beverley will play tonight against the Lakers. Now, he was ruled as questionable in the pre-game injury report, but he didn’t shoot around with the team this morning and has been out of Orlando for a couple weeks, so he presumably won’t have a ton of rhythm with the rest of the team. Prime Ticket has noted that Pat won’t start, which makes sense – the bench unit will already be disrupted without Lou and Trez, while the starting lineup has at least gained some steam during the scrimmages.
Doc did say that he’s not sure how many minutes Pat will play, so it’s quite possible we see him for a very limited stretch tonight as he plays his way back into game shape and into chemistry with the rest of the squad. However, even a little bit of Pat Beverley can go a long way, and his defense, energy, and shooting will be welcome boosts for the Clippers in a tough game against the Lakers.
What this means for the rest of the team depends on how much Pat will play. If Doc is comfortable giving him even 15 minutes, Terance Mann will probably be out of the rotation, and Amir Coffey and Rodney McGruder will see their minutes squeezed as well. While all those guys have looked effective at times, Pat Beverley is certainly a step up, and the more minutes that go to him rather than 3rd stringers, the better. One of Coffey and McGruder will probably still get minutes, though, and it will be interesting to see which one Doc turns too now that the games matter.
Having Pat Beverley play against the Lakers is a big deal, too, because of the fight that he always brings to this matchup. His defense on LeBron might be somewhat more entertaining than it is effective (though it’s had its highlights), but his ability to get his teammates energized is second to none (though Montrezl Harrell is close), and that will be hugely important in the bubble without fans and crowd noise. Welcome back, Pat!
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