Patrick Beverley makes his presence felt in his Chicago Bulls debut — a 131-87 rout of the Brooklyn Nets: ‘We played the right way’
In the first two minutes of Friday’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets, Patrick Beverley introduced himself to the Chicago Bulls fans in trademark style – flying out of bounds, raising one arm in the air, falling to the knees of several unsuspecting fans at the court as he stubbornly tried to hit three-pointer.
This accidental crash included the effect that Beverley promised to have: the defensive tenacity and relentless effort that the Bulls needed all season long.
In turn, the Bulls welcomed Beverley at home 131–87, completely crushing their Eastern Conference rival and snapping a six-game losing streak.
Beverly said he didn’t allow himself to act out the excitement in the moments before the signal was given. But after the game, he sank into the satisfaction of returning home.
“I just felt like we played right today,” Beverley said.
Beverley’s official introduction to United Center fans actually took place minutes earlier when he joined the starting lineup for his Bulls debut. The iconic “Sirius” trill performed by the Alan Parsons Project underlined the rumble of Tim Sinclair announcing Beverly’s name after two words: “From Chicago…”
A few years ago, this phrase was reserved for Derrick Rose, and last season for Ayo Dosunmu. As Beverley coolly ran onto the court to cheering from Bulls fans, he joined a select group of Chicago natives to carry his hometown jersey.
The game that followed was filled with highs and very few lows for the bulls. Zach LaVine scored 32 points as the Bulls at one point took a 50-point lead and finished with 56.8% shooting. The Bulls defensively choked out the Nets, who shot only 37% from the floor and 27.3% from three-point range. The bench scored 57 points as the starting players did not play for almost the entire fourth quarter.
But Beverley’s debut remained in the spotlight as he immediately took on a starting role with the Bulls.
He said he was not surprised when he was named the starter, replacing Dosunma on the small roster along with Alex Caruso. And while Billy Donovan later said that Beverley’s position in the starting lineup was not necessarily permanent, the coach also emphasized the immediate impact of the veteran quarterback.
“I just thought our team needed a shake-up,” Donovan said.
DeRozan said one thing stood out the most about Beverly: “He’s so loud. Constantly aggressive, non-stop, in every game, in every timeout. He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t stop.”
This is Beverley’s reputation in the league over the years. But his new team emphasized that he carries himself with a joie de vivre that keeps him from overpowering or admonishing his teammates.
“His speech is uplifting,” Donovan said. “It’s inspiring, it’s good, it’s positive. There is no negative. If he flirts with players at all — if you want to use that word — he lifts them up.”
In addition to his defense, Beverly considered his communication to be the key to his game.
“I think communication is the most important thing for a person,” said Beverley, who had eight points, five rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes. “You are in a relationship, married, anyway – no communication, your wife will be angry. You have a friend, you feel somehow – no communication, your friend is angry. The same is true in basketball. Communication helps you get organized, helps you stay together, so it’s natural.”
For Beverley, Friday’s game was the culmination of a choice that ultimately didn’t require much thought.
Beverly took an All-Star break to visit France with his wife and answered Donovan’s first call while they were at the Eiffel Tower. After a 20-minute conversation, Beverly said his next steps seemed simple: “Easy decision.”
In return, Beverley promised to fire up the Bulls, and he got his way in his debut game.
“He started up all the time – and I say that very positively,” Donovan said. “Energy is always good because for me it’s a choice. You have the chance to make that choice every day, and he makes that choice every day.”
Now the challenge is repetition.
The Bulls will play the Washington Wizards on Sunday and the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, two teams they need to get past to secure a play-in spot.