Courageous Austin Rivers might now be looking at sweet payday

Austin Rivers speaks to his father, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, after coming back a quarter after having his eye busted up by an errant elbow delivered by Portland’ Al-Farouq Aminu this past Friday in the Clippers’ Game 6 loss at Moda Center in Portland/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer


Austin Rivers at some point may actually want to thank Al-Farouq Aminu of the Portland Trail Blazers. It was an errant elbow by Aminu in the second quarter of the Clippers’ season-ending 106-103 Game 6 loss at Portland on Friday that busted up the left eye of Rivers.

Rivers missed a quarter of action and came back with 11 stitches around the nearly shut eye. He went on to play an almost-unbelievable game, under the circumstances. He scored 21 points, grabbed six rebounds and had eight assists.

Rivers has a player option for $3,344,106 for next season. Considering he made $3,110,796 this season, it’s not likely he’ll exercise it, not with Game 6 now in his negotiating bag. His father, Doc Rivers, is head coach and president of basketball operations for the Clippers, The elder Rivers was asked Monday if his son’s stock rose with his gallant performance, which was made possible by Aminu.

“I don’t know,” Doc Rivers said. But the more he spoke, the more it was obvious his son had put himself in a desirable position because of the courage he displayed.

“It’s funny how blinded coaches are, like during the game,” Doc Rivers said. “I was yelling at JP (Jasen Powell) the trainer, like, ‘Where the hell is Austin?’ ”

He was getting stitches in his eye.

“I thought the doctors were taking forever to do what … I didn’t know what they were doing,” Doc Rivers said. “And then when he came out, I looked at his eye, but I just said, ‘You ready?’ And then he went out and played. And I think because of the way he was playing, I wasn’t thinking about his eye.”

It hit him following the loss, though.

“Then after the game, obviously, I mean, when you look at it now, you think, ‘Wow, don’t know if I would have done that, or could have done that,’ ” Doc Rivers said. “And so that was good. It was good for him. But that’s who he is. That’s what makes him good.

“It’s not just his defense, it’s just his toughness.”

Doc Rivers would not get into specifics, other than to say his son is one of the players on the team he expects will “get deals this summer, and we’re hoping they’re here.”

The salary cap is an issue. The Clippers – not including player options – have roughly $78 million in guaranteed contracts for 2016-17, when the cap is expected to rise to about $89 million. Jamal Crawford, Luc Mbah a Moute, Jeff Green, Pablo Prigioni and Jeff Ayers are free agents and Cole Aldrich and Wes Johnson have player options, so there are those considerations.

One thing’s certain, Doc Rivers is proud as a peacock.

“More, I guess, the next day because of all the texts and calls,” he said. “I got a lot of calls from other coaches around the league. They kept saying, ‘Your son,’ and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’ “

Jamal Crawford’s 22 points have Clippers within two points at halftime of Game 6 in Portland

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Missing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers did very well to trail the Trail Blazers by just 50-48 at halftime of Game 6 of their first-round playoff series on Friday night at Moda Center in Portland.

Not only are the Clippers without their two best players, guard Austin Rivers took a vicious elbow to his left eye from Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu with 6:46 left in the first quarter. Rivers suffered gashes over and below his eye and took stitches in both areas. He returned with 5:03 to play in the second quarter.

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford led all scorers with 22 first-half points. Jeff Green, who started at one of the forward spots, scored eight.

Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum scored 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Paul is out with a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand. Griffin is out with a partially torn left quad tendon.

The Trail Blazers led the series 3-2.

Austin Rivers cut over and below left eye after taking elbow from Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


As if things weren’t bad enough for the depleted Clippers, guard Austin Rivers went down in heap with 6:46 left in the first quarter of Game 6 on Friday when he took caught a vicious right elbow to his left eye delivered by Portland forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

Rivers was down for several minutes, bleeding profusely. He eventually got to his feet and was escorted to the locker room.

Rivers was replaced by Pablo Prigioni. Rivers took stitches above and below the eye and was considered probable to return, according to the Clippers.

The Clippers are already missing point guard Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to injury.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 98-84 loss to Trail Blazers

Clippers Trail Blazers Basketball

Chris Paul, left, is chased down by Maurice Harkless of the Trail Blazers during the first half of Monday’s Game 4 at Portland/AP photo by Criag Mitchelldyer


Chris Paul, the Clippers’ best player, sustained a fracture of the third metacarpal of his right hand. There is no definitive word as of yet, but Paul is likely done for the playoffs. “He’s going to get it evaluated tomorrow, but it obviously doesn’t look very good for him,” coach Doc Rivers said post-game.

– That’s not to mention that Blake Griffin was unable to play down the stretch because his left quad tendon, which is still partially torn, began acting up again. Rivers at first said, “It doesn’t look great for him, either,” Rivers a minute later said he would guess that Griffin might be 50-50 for Game 5 on Wednesday at Staples Center. The series is tied 2-2.

– There’s more. J.J. Redick, who is fighting a sore left heel, shot 3 of 13 (for eight points) after shooting 2 of 10 in Game 3. He told reporters at the morning shootaround that the only way it’s going to get better is if he stays in bed for two weeks. He said it’s going to bother him as long as the team is in the playoffs.

– Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were the difference in Portland’s Game 3 victory. But they were not overwhelming in this one. McCollum had a nice game with 19 points on 6 of 13 shooting, Lillard scored just 12 points on 4 of 15 from the field. Instead, it was forward Al-Farouq Aminu who did in the Clippers with 30 points on 11 of 20 shooting – 6 of 10 from 3-point range.

– There was one bit of good news for the Clippers. Reserve forward Jeff Green had his best game of the post-season. He scored 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting – 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. He also had five rebounds.

BONUS TAKE: The Clippers shot just 35.7 percent from the field – 28 percent (7of 25) from distance.

Blake Griffin wants to be more aggressive against Blazers in Game 4 on Monday night

Clippers Trail Blazers Basketball

Blake Griffin of the Clippers is guarded by Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu during the first half of the Trail Blazers’ 96-88 victory Saturday over the Clippers in Portland/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer


Blake Griffin played very well in Game 1 of the Clippers’ first-round series against Portland. He scored 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting and also grabbed 12 rebounds and doled out six assists in his team’s 115-95 victory. He wasn’t as good in the Clippers’ 102-81 Game 2 victory, scoring 12 points on 4 of 12 from the field; he also had nine rebounds and four assists.

Then came Saturday’s Game 3 in Portland, when he really struggled with his shot. He scored 12 points while shooting just 5 of 16. He had seven rebounds, but none on the offensive end. He had four assists and two steals, but he also had a crucial turnover down the stretch, when the Clippers were outscored 15-3 over the final three minutes, 52 seconds of Portland’s 96-88 win.

If the Clippers are to have any chance of advancing deep into the playoffs, it figures Griffin will have to be at least close to being himself on a consistent basis. Having missed 45 consecutive games before playing five of the final seven in the regular season, that won’t be easy.

Griffin on Sunday afternoon talked about what he needs to do when the Clippers play the Trail Blazers in Game 4 on Monday night, again at Moda Center in Portland.

“I watched the game last night and again this morning in film, so I have several things that I want to change and do a better job at,” he said at the team’s hotel. “But a lot of it’s just aggressiveness, you know, not settling – taking open shots, but not settling.”

The Clippers lead the series 2-1. After Game 4, Game 5 will be back at Staples Center on Wednesday night.

VIDEO: Chris Paul exaggerates this step-back in win over Blazers

You’ve heard of the step-back jumper. Well, Chris Paul shows Portland forward Al-Farouq Aminu a rather large step in reverse, at the same time faking him into Chick Hearn’s popcorn machine before sinking the shot in the third quarter of the Clippers’ 96-94 victory over the Trail Blazers on Thursday at Staples Center. Paul scored 25 points in the win. Check it out: