Neither Doc nor Austin Rivers were around for the end of Friday’s game between the Rockets and Clippers.
After driving to the basket and missing a layup during the second quarter, Austin’s momentum carried him toward the official and he made contact, which was apparently deemed intentional by the official because he assessed two technical fouls to the younger Rivers. That, of course, carries an ejection. During a stoppage in play, father Doc was given his marching orders after words with head official Jason Phillips.
Rivers’ contact with the official did appear to be incidental so it’s understandable he would be upset with the decision, although his actions might draw the attention of the league. And it was probably a matter of when, not if, Doc would join his son in the locker room.
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time Doc and Austin Rivers have been ejected from the same game this season. Both were tossed from a game against the Wizards in December.
Rivers, 23, averaged 8.9 points per game, 1.9 rebounds per game, and 1.5 assists per game for the Clippers in 2015-16. He was acquired by his father Doc, head coach and general manager of the Clippers in early 2015, leading to widespread punchlines of nepotism and preferential treatment. But Austin slowly earned his keep on the team through hard work, hustle, and an emphasis on perimeter defense, settling into a role as a key contributor for the Clippers’ second unit.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders also notes that, on top of the Rivers agreement, the Clippers made an offer Saturday to retain reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford as well, which likely takes them out of the running for Kevin Durant.
We imagine the conversation between Austin Rivers and his father will go something like that when the Clippers guard informs the team of his decision to decline his player option to become a free agent. According to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, that’s exactly what Austin is doing.
Clippers guard Austin Rivers has decided not to exercise his player option for next season & will test free agency this summer. @ASM_SPORTS
Austin Rivers was a first-round pick by the Pelicans in 2012 and was acquired by the Clippers in 2015. His dad, Doc, is the Clippers’ head coach and GM and decided to trade for his son last January.
Austin has often been ridiculed for failing to live up to his status as the 10th player selected in the draft and the hype surrounding him when he arrived at Duke for college. However, he earned the respect of fans and his peers when he scored 21 points in a Game 6 loss to the Trail Blazers in the playoffs while playing through a nasty eye injury, and he still is only 23, with plenty of room to grow.
Perhaps Austin will want to sign somewhere he will have a chance to play more than the 21.9 minutes per game he averaged last season with the Clippers. His player option for next season would have paid him $3.3 million.
Austin Rivers was down with a nasty cut around his eye after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head during Game 6 of the Clippers’ series with the Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Rivers was going after a rebound when Al Farouq-Aminu caught him with an elbow around the eye:
Rivers received a total of 11 stitches for cuts above and below his eye. According to ESPN’s Lisa Salters, he was not tested for a concussion nor did he receive X-rays. He later returned in the middle of the second quarter.
“You’ve got to understand, because we haven’t played with Blake, our ball movement has been a lot better,” Rivers said. “I think we learned a mutual thing where it’s like ‘alright, listen Blake, since you’ve been out, we’ve learned to move the ball better, so when you come back, we’re still going to play like that. But now we have you back, we’re still going to play through you at the same time.’ So I think we’ve both have learned things.
“There’s times when it’s obvious we need Blake, so I think it’s a learning experience for both of us. There’s no way we could be worse with Blake Griffin back on our team. It’s not possible. He’s one of the best players in the NBA, so we can’t wait to have him back.”
Griffin has been out since a Christmas Day win over the Lakers. The team immediately won another nine games in a row. They had another stretch in late January-early February where they won seven of eight.
Despite the winning, Doc Rivers said a month ago that the thought the Clippers are better without Griffin is crazy:
Doc Rivers: "Anybody who thinks we’re better without Blake has sort of lost their mind."
Austin can call Blake the best player on the team and Doc can say it’s nuts to think the Clippers are better without Griffin, but their actions suggest otherwise. If they love Griffin so much, why have there been so many rumors about them trading him?
The Los Angeles Clippers are trying their hardest to forget Josh Smith as if he were Sarah Marshall. The first step? Cleansing Staples Center of any and all Smoove likenesses.
Friday night’s “home” game against the Lakers brought along with it a noticeably different sight up in the rafters: a banner that had once featured an image of Smith officially being replaced by one of guard Austin Rivers.
Here is a look at the updated banner, per Arash Markazi of ESPN:
Smith’s unspectacular Clippers’ career came to an end last week when he was traded back to the Houston Rockets. The former Slam Dunk Contest champion managed averages of just 5.7 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, and 1.5 assists per game in 14.3 minutes per game in Lob City. Smith’s time in L.A. will probably be remembered more for an ugly argument with an assistant coach and a lot of time spent in head coach Doc Rivers’ doghouse than anything.
As for Austin, let’s hope that he looks a little less confused on the court than he does in his new banner image.
Clippers guard Austin Rivers had a less-than-spectacular season debut against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. His final stat line? Three points, two rebounds, one assist, and one fan in the stands hit by a seat cushion.
The 23-year-old was slapped with a fine of $25,000 for throwing a seat cushion into the stands that struck a woman in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 111-104 victory at the Sleep Train Arena, the NBA announced on Thursday per Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports.