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.’ “

Five things to take from Clippers’ 106-103 Game 6 loss at Portland

APTOPIX Clippers Trail Blazers Basketball

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan reacts after the Clippers’ Game 6 loss at Portland, which ended the Clippers’ season/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer


Austin Rivers showed about as much heart as a player can show in this loss that eliminated the Clippers from the playoffs, Portland winning the first-round series 4-2. Rivers had his left eye nearly destroyed by an errant elbow from Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu with 6:46 left in the first quarter. Rivers was a bloody mess. At that point, Rivers had five points. He took 11 stitches, came back at 5:03 of the second quarter and finished with 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists.

– Sixth-man Jamal Crawford scored a game-high 32 points. But he shot just 1 of 9 in the fourth quarter to finish 10 of 25 from the field. Considering he played 38 1/2 minutes, it was still a gutty performance by the 36-year-old Crawford.

– As a team, the Clippers were a tough group. Keep in mind that both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – their two best players – were not on the floor for the second consecutive game. Paul fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand in Game 4 at Portland and Griffin’s partially torn quad tendon began acting up in the same game.

DeAndre Jordan pulled down 20 rebounds. He is the first player to have at least 15 rebounds in five consecutive playoff games since San Antonio’s Tim Duncan did it in 2008 against the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. Jordan had 18, 16, 15, 17 and 20 rebounds over the last five games of the six-game series.

– What this loss means is that the Clippers will go another season without advancing to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. That dates back to the 1970-71 season when the team was the Buffalo Braves.

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.

Don’t expect Trail Blazers to exhale with Clippers’ stars unable to play

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


With an opportunity to win a series few thought his team could when it began, don’t think for one second that Portland coach Terry Stotts and his Trail Blazers will now relax because Chris Paul (fractured hand) and Blake Griffin (partially torn quad tendon) are out.

Stotts said as much after his team’s 98-84 Game 4 victory on Monday night in Portland. By then, Stotts knew Paul had a fractured hand and he knew that Griffin could not finish Game 4 because he had aggravated his quad tendon, which was originally injured on Dec. 25.

“Two-two,” he said of the series score. “I love the energy that we’ve had defensively the last three games. We have to take that to L.A. But this is the playoffs. You don’t have time to exhale.”

Expect the Trail Blazers to come out hard against the Clippers on Wednesday night in Game 5 at Staples Center. Austin Rivers is expected to start for Paul and Jeff Green is supposed to start for Griffin.

Clippers will have their hands full with Portland’s Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) passes the ball over Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) as center Nikola Jokic (15) closes in during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Damian Lillard of Portland passes the ball over Denver’s Nikola Jokic, left, and Emmanuel Mudiay during Portland’s 107-99 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday night in Portland/AP photo by Steve Dykes


Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers make up one of the NBA’s top guard tandems. But make no mistake, point guard Lillard is the main straw in that drink.

The Clippers know that, and they will be hard-pressed to contain Lillard when the teams tangle in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, beginning Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center. Clippers reserve guard Austin Rivers intimated his team gets what it’s up against.

“They can score the ball,” Rivers said. “They’ve got one of the best players in the game – Damian Lillard. We’re going to have our hands full with him and they have a really good cast around him, so we’ve really got to try to slow him down and make them defend us.”

Lillard is averaging 25.1 points – sixth in the league – 6.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds. McCollum is averaging 20.7 points.

The Clippers’ two starting guards – Chris Paul and J.J. Redick – average 19.5 and 16.3 points, respectively. Paul averages 10.0 assists, fourth in the league. Redick shot 47.5 percent (200 of 421) from 3-point range.

The Clippers, the No. 4 seed, finished the regular season 53-29. The fifth-seeded Trail Blazers went 44-38.