By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Marcus Smart and Patrick Beverley play a similar style and bring the same ferocious intensity to the floor. That was on full display Wednesday night when Beverly played a major role in the Clippers 107-104 overtime victory over Smart's Celtics in Los Angeles.
Beverley exploded for 14 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in his 41 minutes on the floor in the L.A. victory, his best overall performance of the season. Smart didn't have as big a game in the box score, scoring 15 points despite shooting just 1-for-11 from three-point range, but was just as impactful during Boston's hard-fought loss to one of the most talented teams in the NBA. Smart pestered Kawhi Leonard throughout Wednesday night's contest, earning praise from the two-time MVP.
"He plays hard," Leonard said of Smart after the game, via Mass Live's Tom Westerholm. "They want to be somewhere at the end of the road too, so they're going to come in and play both ends of the floor. That's what you want. It's going to get you better as a player and a team."
While Leonard was very complimentary of Smart, that was not the case with Beverley. Asked by Mass Live's John Karalis what it was like to face a player like Smart, one of the few players in the NBA who can match his intensity, Beverley wanted nothing to do with the inquiry.
Beverley's silence said it all. Karalis said that the player barked "as intense as me" as he walked away, and when asked if he disagreed with the premise, Beverley didn't respond.
While Beverley felt the need to diss his Boston counterpart, Smart had nothing but good things to say about the Clippers guard.
"Pat Bev is a gamer," the C's guard told reporters after the game, via MassLive.com. "He got himself going. He got a couple easy buckets. He got a couple steals. ... He changed the game, that's what he does."
The intensity matchup between Smart and Beverley certainly lived up to the hype Wednesday night, with both players putting their fingerprints all over the game. Smart pestered Leonard, while Beverley was just as pesky on defense and sank a clutch three in overtime to help seal the W for the Clippers.
But after having his best game of the season, Beverley didn't seem interested in passing any praise along to one of the few players who plays just like he does. Things should be pretty interesting when the Clippers come to Boston on Feb. 13. Chances are Beverley and Smart will not be exchanging Valentines with each other.
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