Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley told reporters after Tuesday’s game vs. the Clippers that it was extra special to clinch a spot in the playoffs by beating his former team. Beverley was a Clipper from 2017-21 but wasn’t happy with the extension offer he received from the club last offseason and was eventually traded, initially to Memphis, then to Minnesota.
“I gave my blood and sweat and tears to that organization,” Beverley said, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “You guys know the story. Blood, sweat and tears, to just be written off like that, ‘He’s injury-prone. He’s old.’ This, this, that, that. To be able to come here and play them in a play-in and beat their ass, no other feeling, man. No other feeling.”
The Clippers, who will have one more chance to secure a playoff spot on Friday, remain fond of Beverley and miss him, as Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times writes. Clippers star Paul George said after Tuesday’s loss that it was obvious Beverley’s “energy and his persona” had rubbed off on his Timberwolves teammates.
“I know what it was coming into this game. I wasn’t going to allow Pat to do his antics and try to get me flustered,” George said. “I knew it’s all for show. It’s for the crowd. Gets the crowd involved. I love it. I love it. I miss it. He did it on our side because it’s contagious. I think when he’s in that mode, it ignites the team, ignites the arena. You need energy guys like that.”
Here’s more on the Wolves, who are ticketed for a first-round matchup with the No. 2 Grizzlies:
- Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at a November 5 team meeting – led by Beverley and dubbed a “monumental moment” by Karl-Anthony Towns – that Timberwolves players view as a turning point in their season. As Krawczynski details, Beverley directly asked each player in the locker room about their role on the team. “Guys looked around, and we were kind of uncomfortable at first,” Jaylen Nowell said. “We never really had that type of situation, that type of vet that did that.”
- While Sachin Gupta remains the Timberwolves’ head of basketball operations, he still has an interim title for now, as team ownership has yet to announce who will hold that job on a permanent basis, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. For what it’s worth, Gupta received a glowing review from newly-extended head coach Chris Finch on Monday. “He’s a good person,” Finch said. “We’re philosophically aligned. We trust each other. We don’t try to do each other’s jobs. He’s got a very appropriate presence around the team. He’s done a really good job of bringing stability, great energy to the whole building.”
- The Timberwolves’ core pieces are in place and their 2022 playoff berth shows they’re on the right track, but they still have a ways to go before they can be considered legitimate title contenders, says John Hollinger of The Athletic. In Hollinger’s view, improving the forward spots should be the top item on Gupta’s offseason to-do list, and the club should be willing to trade a draft pick or two if necessary to make it happen.