Playoffs 2017: West Semifinals -- Spurs (2) vs. Rockets (3)
Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley fights through grief after grandfather's death
Beverley shakes off tragic news to score 10 points in Rockets' Game 4 romp
HOUSTON — Patrick Beverley found the resolve, somewhere deep down within his soul, to take the floor Sunday night at Toyota Center, knowing that things would never be the same no matter the outcome.
The Houston Rockets’ point guard was informed during pregame warmups that his grandfather had died, the news sending shockwaves to his family back in Chicago and all the way through his every fiber. Beverley was seen sobbing at his locker before the game and again on the court during warmup.
He tried to control his emotions, but could be seen crying during the opening tip and the game’s opening minutes; he tapped his chest and pointed to the sky after knocking down the first basket of the game. He found a way to stay locked in for all 26 minutes of the Rockets’ series-tying 125-104 Game 4 win over the San Antonio Spurs, finishing with 10 points and six assists.
But afterwards, the player Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and several teammates described as the heart and soul of this team let it all out.
“It’s been long, frustrating,” Beverley said. “I wake up from a nap, the usual nap, to find out the person that raised you and nine other cousins or siblings or whatever, to hear that he passed. The man of the family. Didn’t have any children, but accepted every one, each one of us like we were his. It’s tough man, tough. He’s been in my life since I can remember, been in my cousins’ life since I can remember … tough. Today was a tough one.”
Beverley always plays with his emotions on full display. He’s done that from the moment hit the pro ranks; the 2009 second-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers started his career overseas but has spent the past five seasons with the Rockets.
This night, obviously, was much different.
The Rockets were in a must-win situation and Beverley had to find a way to compose himself long enough to provide the spark his team needed.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know about the loss of his grandfather,” Rockets star James Harden said. “But he’s just a warrior man. So much adversity he’s had to deal with through his life toe get to this point. So obviously he’s just a fighter. No matter what obstacles are going to come in his way, he’s going to get through it.
“Obviously, he didn’t take the perfect … college, get drafted high … to get to where he is. He had to go overseas, fight his way and once he got his opportunity he kept going. And that’s why he’s the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets now. But tough, tough fight for him, especially going through his family and he’s a key piece to what we do.”
“To have a person like that being taken away from you is hard, so hard. … I’m going to keep my faith and, of course, I’m going to be there for my family.”
Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley
Beverley said he was in contact with his family back home and they all agreed that he should play Sunday night. He said he wanted to get on the first flight he could find to Chicago and be there for his grandmother and other loved ones, who are also grieving.
“I’m a really strong guy, and I can deal with a lot of things,” he said. “But I can’t deal with anybody suffering. He suffered, but he’s in a better place now. I tried to go out there and play as hard as I could for my teammates tonight, man. It’s just tough. I have to be there for my grandmother. That’s the only man she knew for the last 26 years. I’ve got to be there for my mom and my cousins back in Chicago.”
He’ll also have to carry on in this series without one of his biggest supporters, the man who was there for him every step of the way.
“Everyone knows I worked extremely hard to prove myself each and every night,” he said, “and to have someone who was right there supporting me the whole way … he wore my jersey every single day of his life. He wore my Russian jersey every single day of his life, man.
“To have a person like that being taken away from you is hard, so hard. But you know, there’s a bigger plan. I’m going to keep my faith and, of course, I’m going to be there for my family. But you know, anyone who has had grandparents, mothers, whatever to have them taken away from you is super, super hard.”
Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.
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