A player on the NBA Houston Rockets received death threats via Twitter from an opposing team's ball boy after accidentally injuring one of its star players during Game 2 of the NBA playoffs last week.
Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook underwent surgery for a torn meniscus Saturday and will be out for remainder of the season after Rockets guard Patrick Beverley lunged for a steal and collided with Westbrook, who was calling timeout, during Game 2 Wednesday night.
On Friday and Saturday, Thunder ball boy Mitchell Brown reportedly posted death threats
on his Twitter account directed at Beverley.
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"Patrick Beverly (sic), I'm coming to kill you," read one of the messages. He sent another using Beverley's Twitter handle: "@pavbev21 I'm coming to kill you."
Shortly after Thunder officials were told of the tweets, Brown deleted them with an apology:
"Yesterday I posted something completely inappropriate and I need to apologize. I was out of line and it will not happen again."
He later removed that tweet and instead said his account was hacked.
"@patbev21 yesterday someone tweeted on my account making a death threat towards you and it wasn't me. I apologize."
The account has since been taken down.
"We do not condone [Brown's] comments," Thunder spokesman Matt Tumbleson said in a statement. "He works game nights on a voluntary basis. We will handle this matter internally."
Oklahoma City police Captain Dexter Nelson told the Houston Chronicle that their department is working with the Houston police and the NBA to investigate the threats, and that security has been tightened at the Toyota Center, the site of the playoff games.
Some called the play that injured Westbrook dirty, but Thunder coach Scott Brooks disagreed.
"That was not a dirty play," Brooks told the Chronicle. "It’s part of basketball. One of the things the kid does, he plays hard. Now, was it unfortunate and was he trying to get under his skin? Absolutely. But it wasn’t a dirty play. You want to play physical. You want to play hard. That’s what I like. That’s how you have to play."
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Beverley, who told the Chronicle he wasn’t concerned about the threats, called the Westbrook injury an "unfortunate situation."
"I knew my … intent," Beverley said. "My intent was no one to get hurt. It’s an unfortunate situation."
The Thunder went on to win last week's game 105-102, and are now leading the best-of-seven series 3-0. Game 4 is scheduled for Monday at 8:30 p.m. CST.
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