Nothing good could come from the Sixers game, and nothing good did come.
Patrick Beverley left in the first half with an injury Thursday night against Philly and an MRI on Friday revealed he has a torn meniscus. The type of tear is unknown at this point, but with the playoffs just three weeks away, there’s a good chance that Beverley is done for the season. No official timetable has been released as Beverley and the team are seeking a second opinion.
There’s no spinning this — this is a huge blow to the Rockets. Beverley provides something to this team that no other player can replace — elite on-ball defense making it difficult for the league’s top point guards. When you consider the point guards the West will feature in the playoffs — Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Tony Parker and Goran Dragic to name a few — it’s a scary thought for the Rockets.
Not only does it hurt the starting lineup, but it hurts the bench as well, a bench that already had been struggling. If what we saw in Philly is any indicator, then Jeremy Lin will step in to start and Isaiah Canaan will take the backup point guard role, a spot that Aaron Brooks took most of the season when Lin or Beverley dealt with injuries. Lin certainly has the potential to put up big numbers offensively, but offense has not been a problem for the starting lineup and lack of perimeter defense may again become a big story.
Will Daryl Morey add another player to help out? We shall see. As David Weiner wrote after the trade deadline, the team still has their Room Exception to use if they want to. It’s hard to tell how much faith they have in Canaan just yet (McHale kind of laughed in post-game about that, saying at least he’ll be getting good experience), but they may seek a veteran point or experienced European player with that spot considering that another injury (especially to Lin) would leave them near helpless at the position.
This has been an amazing season for the Rockets so this one really hurts. We’ll see how they respond with a playoff test tomorrow night against the Clippers.