Clippers-Rockets Game 2 Preview: What We’ve Learned So Far

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We love playoff Austin Rivers

May 4, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers (25) dribbles against Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) in the second half in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Los Angeles Clippers won 117 to 101. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Love might be a little strong, and he hasn’t exactly emerged as an All-Star, but as Austin Rivers continues to find his confidence, his postseason performance has been a pleasant surprise so far.

Over this year’s playoffs, Rivers has played 16 minutes a game to average 1.1 rebound, 1 assist, and 6.9 points on 41.2 percent shooting (46.2 percent from three point range). They are’t superstar numbers, and they’re barely even backup point guard numbers, but Rivers has put in a couple of key performances that have been of real importance to the Clippers’ playoff run.

In game four of the first round against the San Antonio Spurs (a game that could have put the Clippers down 3-1) Rivers came up with 16 points on 87.5 percent shooting. It was’t the decisive factor in the Clippers’ victory by any means, but his production off the bench was needed more than ever to help save their series.

Then, two days ago in game one against the Rockets, Rivers tallied 4 steals and 17 points, albeit on a far less efficient mark of 41.7 percent.

In the absence of Chris Paul, everyone needed to step up. And despite the rather comical mistakes Rivers can make at times, he still added 14 points in the second half to help the Clippers outscore the Rockets 71-51 over the final 24 minutes. If he keeps playing with confidence, and can at least provide something off the bench in addition to Jamal Crawford, it will make a real impact over this series.