Clippers’ Austin Rivers Breaks Out In Game 4 Win Over Spurs


Apr 26, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills (8) is fouled while shooting by Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Austin Rivers (25) in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Out of all the heroes we were expecting to see if the Los Angeles Clippers won today, Austin Rivers was probably at the back of everyone’s minds. Yet in a pivotal 114-105 game four win over the Spurs, Rivers broke out with one of the best performances of his young career. This certainly doesn’t mean he’s broken out as the savior of the franchise though, or anything remotely close to that. However, it’s an encouraging sign from a game where the Clippers’ bench needed to step up more than ever.

During this entire season, Austin Rivers has eclipsed the 16 point mark just five times. In 76 games, he reached 16 points only five times. And somehow, in a game that was not only the biggest of his career but one of the most important in Los Angeles’ history, Rivers came out of nowhere to provide a critical spark of the bench during the second half that no one could have expected.

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He shot 87.5 percent from the field, making 7-of-8 shots for his total of 16 points. It may have only been 16 points, but the magnitude of the game made every shot even more valuable. Rivers finished with 17 minutes off the bench, including playing in key stretches during the final two quarters. He attacked the rim when he had a chance to do so, hit his open shots with the poise that was necessary, and even knocked down a step-back jumper from just inside the three-point line.

It’s not exactly the kind of performance we’re used to seeing from Rivers, but whilst Jamal Crawford only made 6 of his 13 shots for 15 points, Rivers rose to the occasion. His production not only made Doc Rivers a proud dad, it also allowed the Clippers to maintain a lead without all their starters on during stretches of the second half. That is rare to see.

What’s just as impressive, is the fact that he also only committed one turnover.

Efficiency, taking care of the ball and a little defense; that’s all the Clippers need from him.

Apr 26, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and shooting guard Austin Rivers (25) argue a call with an official against the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Today was certainly uncharacteristic of Rivers, and it’s not every day you’ll hear Chris Paul saying he should win the game ball. Especially not during the fourth game of a playoff series against arguably the toughest 6th seed of all time.

With Doc Rivers acknowledging the bench as the Clippers primary flaw heading into today’s game, Rivers managed to help spur the second unit into a fine performance.

No, this won’t happen every game. In fact, it will probably be a rarity to say the least. But more than anything, it shows Austin Rivers at least had the mindset and determination to decide that on the biggest stage of his career, he wanted to step up and make an impact.

The chances are we won’t see another night of such efficiency and poise from Rivers again during these playoffs, although that’s not really the point. Today, he at least made his 17 minutes count.

And it helped keep the Clippers’ championship fight alive just a little bit longer.

Next: Game 4 Recap: Chris Paul And Clippers Bounce Back To Tie Series 2-2