If Patrick Beverley is the latest face of NBA irritant, he’ll wear that reputation proudly.
“I guess I’m doing something right,’’ the Houston Rockets point guard said on Thursday. “I don’t even look into that. I just go out there and play aggressive defense and just leave the cards on the table from there.
“I really can’t help what other people say and how other people feel. I just put my team in the best position to win basketball games. So if that’s me defending all night, then that’s what I’ve got to do.’’
And, considering his journey from Chicago’s Marshall High School to where he is now, the way Beverley sees it, doing whatever he’s got to do is working.
After attending Arkansas out of high school, he left the Razorbacks’ program after his sophomore season because of a cheating scandal.
He played professional basketball in the Ukraine, Greece and Russia before joining the Rockets and being assigned to the D-League. He was recalled by the Rockets last January, and his career has taken off. So has his reputation as a hard-nosed player, which peers such as Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard feel borders on being dirty.
Beverley collided with Westbrook in the playoffs last season, and the Thunder guard suffered a season-ending knee injury. In the last month, Lillard and Westbrook each have had exchanges with the Marshall product.
As far as returning to his hometown as a starter for one of the top teams in the Western Conference, Beverley called it a “dream come true.’’
“I just always had it in my head that I’d play in the NBA, and ironically, in the last year so much has changed,’’ Beverley said.
“I’m glad to be here, and I earned everything I got up to this point.’’
NOTES: Mike Dunleavy had to leave in the second quarter when an elbow from Chandler Parsons resulted in a laceration above his right eye. Dunleavy walked off the court and headed into the locker room to receive stitches but returned for the second half.
◆ If the season were to end today, the Bulls once again would face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. The two met in the first round last season, and the Bulls won in seven, closing out the Nets in Brooklyn.