LOS ANGELES — Patrick Beverley has had the reputation of a player who will speak his mind under any circumstances. He's a veteran in the league who has been a part of teams that have made deep playoffs runs, the kind of player who is in short supply on the Timberwolves roster.
Beverley could have been irate after the Wolves weren't competitive beyond the first quarter of their 129-102 loss to his old team, the Clippers, on Saturday night.
Instead, Beverley was trying to maintain a positive attitude. He pointed out that the Wolves tied or played every other quarter close, except for that second quarter when the Clippers outscored the Wolves 38-17.
"Just lost the second," Beverley said. "Obviously it looked bad throughout the whole game, but if you just look at the box score. Tie game third quarter, tie game fourth quarter. We lose the first quarter by six points, you'll take that. That said, we still got a lot of work. Our first back-to-back [set of games] and we'll learn from it."
Beverley has quickly become one of the most influential voices on the team, with players and coach Chris Finch praising his leadership any chance they get. Saturday night his leadership tactic was to be positive when it otherwise would have been easy to be upset in the face of a seventh loss in eight games. He compared that attitude to being in a relationship in which you can't always argue with your significant other when problems arise.
"I think that's a part of anything, right? … It's all about positivity," Beverley said.
The Wolves now head home for four games after closing a four-game road trip 1-3. That record could have been better had they closed a fourth-quarter lead against Memphis on Monday and completed a comeback against Golden State on Wednesday. After beating the Lakers on Friday, they were really never in it Saturday.
Beverley added that he sees some similarities to the Wolves and when he first arrived with the Clippers before Paul George and Kawhi Leonard got there. They were a young team giving significant minutes to some of their younger players and found a way to earn a playoff spot, and that entails some struggles.
"It's a learning process," Beverley said.
One of those things the Wolves have to learn, guard Josh Okogie said, was how to focus better after winning. This has been a problem extending back to last season for this group of Wolves players, who have put together a win streak of two games or more just four times since then.
"I feel like that's really been the problem with us as a team is how do we not get tired of success?" Okogie said. "I feel like after we have good performances, we have to be able to put that game behind us and focus on the next one and try to go 1-0 every night."
Anthony Edwards echoed that sentiment.
"Every time we win big, we come out, take a couple steps backwards," he said
When you adopt a big-picture perspective, as Beverley is, those steps backward come with the territory.
"It's a long season … and we're trying to build a nice house, brick by brick," Beverley said. "And you've got to take some Ls with it."