The Phoenix Suns won 64 games in the 2021-22 season and claimed the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, so it came as a shock when they were eliminated in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks following Sunday's 123-90 Game 7 blowout.
Well, a major shock to everybody but Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Patrick Beverley, who claimed Monday on ESPN's First Take that the Suns didn't exactly inspire fear around the NBA, even bringing his former teammate Paul George into the fray:
First Take @FirstTake
“Ain’t nobody afraid of anybody over there in Phoenix, man. Everybody in the league knows that.”<br><br>.<a href="https://twitter.com/patbev21?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@patbev21</a>, tell us how you really feel about the Suns 👀 <a href="https://t.co/GlxSAXUrq5">pic.twitter.com/GlxSAXUrq5</a>
"Ain't nobody afraid of anybody over there in Phoenix. Everybody in the league knows that, bro. But y'all don't know that 'cuz y'all not in the locker room. No one's afraid of Phoenix. We wanted them. We [the Timberwolves] wanted them. No one's afraid of Phoenix. I talked to some teammates, I ain't gonna say who—I'm gonna say who, forget it, I talked to Paul George last night—ain't nobody scared of them. But if you face Dallas? You ain't scared of Dallas, but man, you've got to get your game right when you play Luka [Doncic]. I'm just being honest."
Beverley wasn't done there, continuing to go in on Chris Paul:
“CP can’t guard nobody man. Everybody in the NBA know that. ... He’s a cone. ... Give him the Ben Simmons slander.”<br><br>👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/patbev21?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@patbev21</a><br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/GetUpESPN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GetUpESPN</a>) <a href="https://t.co/9bh8HOdJ0J">pic.twitter.com/9bh8HOdJ0J</a>
Suffice to say, Beverley's scalding takes were met with a mixed response on the socials:
Beverley has something of a past with Paul in particular, shoving him in the back in the fourth quarter of last season's Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. The Suns blew out Beverley's Clippers in that game, 130-102, and ended the series, with Paul putting 41 points on his former team.
"We knew we broke them," Jae Crowder told reporters after that game regarding Beverley's cheap shot. "There's no better sign. That's a great feeling to have."
So it's a little possible that Beverley is still stinging from that smackdown and had his revenge on First Take.
But that's the full Beverley experience. The intensity and chip on his shoulder that has allowed him to carve out an NBA career as a dogged defender also sometimes spills into moments like Monday's slander.
If nothing else, Beverley showed that he just might have an entertaining second act as a media figure once his playing days are up. He certainly won't pull any punches.