Patrick Beverley fought back tears and pounded the post-game podium table hours after being informed that his grandfather had died on Sunday.
The Rockets’ guard scored 10 points and dished six assists in 26 minutes to help Houston claim a 125-104 home win over San Antonio in Game 4, but his mind was on Rheese Morris, “the man of the house” who Beverley said helped raise him and nine of his cousins and siblings. Shortly after Beverley awoke from his customary pre-game nap, the well-traveled veteran was informed that Morris had passed away.
“I’m really a strong guy and I can deal with a lot of things, but I can’t deal with anybody suffering,” Beverley said. “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. That’s the only man [my grandmother] knew for the last 26 years. I have to be there for my mom and my cousins back home in Chicago. It’s just tough. It’s just so tough, man.”
Beverley remembered Morris as a man who supported him throughout his professional career that saw him selected in the second round of the 2009 draft but start his career overseas with stints in the Ukraine, Greece and Russia. After years abroad, Beverley finally made his NBA debut with the Rockets in 2012 and worked his way into a starting role for the 2013-14 season.
“He was there from the beginning, as long as I can remember,” Beverley said. “It’s so hard, so tough. Him being at every single game that he can make it to. It’s a tough one for me. … Everybody knows I worked so extremely hard to prove myself each and every night. To have somebody who was right there supporting me every single day, who wore my jerseys every single day of his life. Who wore my Russian jerseys every single day of his life, man. To have a person like that taken from you is hard, so hard.
“But it’s a bigger plan. I’m going to keep my faith and be there for my family. Anyone who has grandparents, to have them taken away from you is super hard.”
After being encouraged by his family members to play in Game 4, Beverley started and posted a +27 on the night, helping Houston square its second-round series with San Antonio at two games apiece. At the buzzer, Beverley was embraced by his teammates, and coach Mike D’Antoni saluted his hard-nosed guard as the “heart and soul” of the Rockets.
“Our prayers go out to his family. We’re always with him. He’s the guy you want on the bus, when you’re going into the alley, or if you’re trying to find a pick-up game. You want him with you. Whatever we want to do, we want Pat. He has an amazing spirit and determination. … The guy’s got enormous heart.”
The Spurs will host Game 5 on Tuesday.