Patrick Beverley will make his first NBA start for the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in Game 2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to the Houston Chronicle. The 6'1 guard replaces power forward Greg Smith in the starting lineup as Houston goes extra small with a dual point guard backcourt of Beverley and Jeremy Lin.
The move by coach Kevin McHale is a likely prelude to the Rockets amping up the fast-paced tempo to an even greater degree.
In a 120-91 loss to the Thunder in the series opener, Beverley scored 11 points off the bench and led the Rockets with four assists. Beverley also made some big defensive plays and that showed up in the box score with two steals.
It's just more than four months since the Rockets signed Beverley, who was playing in Russia. The guard from Arkansas joined Houston in early January and made his first appearance on Jan. 15 in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He's grown into a key reserve for McHale and is averaging 5.7 points and 2.9 assists per contest in 41 games this year. He's a 38-percent 3-point shooter.
The move could create matchup problems for the Thunder, but at the same time, whichever Rocket guards Oklahoma City power forward Serge Ibaka will be giving up a great deal of weight. Either small forward Chandler Parsons or guard James Harden must deal with Ibaka in the post.