DENVER—After the Clippers clawed to an overtime win against the Celtics on Wednesday, Los Angeles guard Pat Beverley was asked what it was like to be on the floor with Boston guard Marcus Smart, a rare player who is about as intense as Beverley.
Beverley initially just stared at the inquisitor, and after a follow-up question simply chuckled and responded, ‘that’s funny,” essentially dismissing the idea that Smart is on his level.
Reporter – “What’s it like being out there with Marcus Smart, a guy trying to out-intense you?”
Patrick Beverley – “…”
Reporter – “You don’t usually have another guy out there that matches your intensity.”
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) November 21, 2019
Smart, of course, later saw that exchange, and on Friday morning he said he was not surprised by Beverley’s reaction, and that he would have said the same thing. But then he continued.
“What I am surprised about is for Pat to think that I’m below him or anything in that standpoint where, you (put) me head up against Pat I think we know who’d win that battle. I think my play speaks for itself. I’m not saying Pat’s not a good ball player, good defender, but I’m just on another level right now.”
Before the Celtics faced the Clippers on Wednesday, Smart said that his respect for Beverley is “through the roof.” On Friday, he said those feelings had not changed, but this time there was an addendum.
“He has heart,” Smart said. “You’ve got to respect a guy like that that goes out there and plays every night fearlessly, and really stands down to nobody. The respect factor is there, but at the same time, I’m on another level. I feel like when it comes to me, if you had to choose me and Pat, I think I’d be getting that nod, so no offense to Pat, but step his game up a little bit more and we’ll see.”
The Clippers visit TD Garden on Feb. 13.