With 'a different type of leadership' and his 'consistent voice,' Patrick Beverley continues to spark Bulls


CHICAGO (670 The Score) – Since adding veteran guard Patrick Beverley on the buyout market in mid-February, the Bulls have gone 7-4, a fact that isn’t lost on Beverley.

“Shit, it should be 9-2,” he said.

Perhaps it would be an oversimplification or even cliché to connect that comment to being symbolic of the Bulls’ mindset with Beverley in the fold, but there’s no doubt he’s having a meaningful impact as a low-cost midseason addition to his hometown team, which had been despondent prior to his arrival.

The latest example came Saturday evening at the United Center, where the Bulls dispatched the Heat in a 113-99 win that increased Chicago’s lead to 1.5 games over Indiana and Washington for the final play-in spot in the East. The game had all the signs of being a potential letdown for the Bulls (33-37), who were playing on the second of a back-to-back after needing double overtime to beat the Timberwolves on Friday.

Instead, the Bulls controlled the game from the start and raced out to a 14-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Beverley had his fingerprints all over the game, most notably in the second quarter, when he scored 14 straight points for the Bulls to help them extend their lead to 25 at halftime.

The Heat ignored Beverley to double-team Bulls star forward DeMar DeRozan or star guard Zach LaVine on multiple occasions, and he made them pay with the 3-point shot. He finished with 17 points while shooting 6-of-12, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range.

“I’m a basketball player,” Beverley said. “It don’t matter how well I shoot it, I’m 38% career from the 3, over a decade … I think it’s the look of me, that people want to leave me open. But keep letting them do it, f*** it.

“Everyone, they see me as a defensive guy. They don’t see me as a 3-point shooter, but my numbers are up there with the best of them. They got to take away something. Obviously, I play with a lot of great guards and I’m fortunate to play with DeMar and Zach, and no one person can guard them.”

Beverley’s lone 2-point bucket was a driving layup through Heat guard Gabe Vincent, after which Beverley motioned his hand toward the ground to share the “too small” gesture. He also made a point to fire up the crowd on several occasions.

Needless to say, Beverley’s presence has been felt by his teammates.

“A different type of leadership, a consistent voice,” DeRozan said of what Beverley has brought the Bulls. “He played with some great players (previously). You look at the list of players he played with, he played with some Hall of Fame players that know how to play the game. He’s not who he is for no reason. He earned that reputation of being tough, being vocal, doing everything that he brings to the table, and it shows.”

Since Beverley joined the Bulls, they’re fifth in offensive rating in the NBA, fifth in defensive rating and second in net rating. And because of that, they continue to harbor confidence in what’s been a trying season.

“We got to have hope,” said DeRozan, who led the Bulls with 24 points Saturday. “We got to have faith, and we’ve got to feed off this.”

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.

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