Austin Rivers has found comfort level with Clippers after career night

first_imgA lot of the talk after the Clippers’ rousing 126-99 victory over Sacramento on Saturday centered on the play of Austin Rivers, son of coach Doc Rivers. The younger Rivers scored a career-high 28 points while making 11 of 19 shots from the field.Among his array of shots were driving layups, 3-pointers (he made 5 of 9) and even a couple of dunks by the 6-foot-4 reserve guard.Teammate and starting shooting guard J.J. Redick was impressed, that’s for sure.“It’s always fun to see a guy get a career-high and the assortment of shots that he did was pretty cool,” said Redick, whose 37-19 team today will play host to the tough Memphis Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center (on Prime Ticket). For a Clippers team missing arguably its best player in forward Blake Griffin for at least two more weeks, this is the perfect time for players like Rivers to make their presence felt. And according to him, this is the right place to do that because there are so few restrictions.“I just try to go out there, play hard and bring energy,” said Austin Rivers, 22. “I think everything just kind of comes naturally after that. When you try to go out there and think ‘Oh, I have to do this and have to do that,’ you put yourself in a situation where you start thinking too much.“That is what is so nice about playing here is that guys literally just go out there and play. You just play hard and everything else just comes. You can take a shot and you are not getting yelled at. You just play. That is that way I have always played my whole life. It is nice to be finally back into that.”Doc perplexed by questionOne particular beat writer has been all over the dynamic of Austin Rivers becoming the first NBA player to toil for his head-coach father. Said reporter asked Doc Rivers after Saturday’s game if he has to be careful to temper his enthusiasm when his son has a good game. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img The elder Rivers kind of scolded the reporter – he was laughing while doing it – and responded in kind.“It’s no different,” Doc Rivers said. “It really isn’t. It’s just, for me, he’s a player on our team and we want him to do well.”Kudos to second unitNot only did Austin Rivers have his best game as a pro, the second unit is the one that changed the complexion of the game after the starters played a big hand in the team falling behind 29-19 in the first quarter to the Kings.Then a 16-0 run gave the Clippers a 35-29 lead and they never looked back. Of those 16 points, 13 were scored by reserves ‑ seven by Rivers.“In the first quarter we did not play very well,” Doc Rivers said. “We did not move the ball very well and they were scoring on us. Fortunately, the second unit came in and changed the game for us. Once that happened, the starters came back and finished what the second unit did.”Scouting the GrizzliesMemphis took a record of 39-14 into its game Sunday at Portland. The Grizzlies, who defeated the Clippers 107-91 Nov. 23 at Memphis, have a solid hold on second place in the Western Conference standings. They are led by All-Star post Marc Gasol, point guard Mike Conley and power forward Zach Randolph.Gasol is averaging 18.3 point, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks; Conley is averaging 16.9 points and 5.3 assists; and Randolph is averaging 16.8 points and 12.0 rebounds.The Clippers were in a virtual tie for fourth with Portland (36-18) before Sunday.last_img

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