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.’ “

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan has been a demon on the boards

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Amid the injuries that have taken Chris Paul and Blake Griffin out of the L.A. Clippers’ first-round playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers, has been the rebounding prowess of Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

Jordan on Friday entered Game 6 at Moda Center in Portland with a chance to become the first player since 2008 to grab at least 15 rebounds in five consecutive playoff games. San Antonio’s Tim Duncan did it when he pulled down 18, 16, 21, 17 and 15 in the Spurs’ 4-1 Western Conference finals series loss to the Lakers in ’08. Jordan had 12 rebounds in Game 1 of this series. He since has had 18, 16, 15 and 17.

Coach Doc Rivers has been impressed.

“He’s been great,” said Rivers, whose team was down 3-2 before Friday. “I mean, D.J.’s been great all year, not just this series, so it’s nothing that’s that surprising to me.”

Jordan was the league’s leading rebounder in the playoffs with a 15.6 average.

Jordan was one of three Clippers who were invited to vie for a roster spot on the USA National team that will compete in this summer’s Rio Games. Paul pulled out long before he fractured his right hand in Game 4 on Monday at Moda Center. And now that Griffin’s partially torn left quad tendon has again taken him out of action, chances are Jordan will be the only Clippers player going for a spot on the USA roster.

“That would be a great experience for him,” Rivers said. “I think Chris pulled out already and now Blake’s injury. I think Blake wouldn’t play because of it,
but I actually think he could. But I don’t think he will. But D.J., it would be a great experience for him.”

Doc Rivers praises Trail Blazers for their play through five games

Warriors Clippers Basketball

Doc Rivers shouts a a referee during in game against Golden State in February at Staples Center/AP file photo by Danny Moloshok


When the Clippers looked good in taking a 2-0 lead over Portland with victories in Games 1 and 2 at Staples Center, the word “sweep” became the first-round series buzz word. Considering the Clippers were 24 games over .500 (53-29) during the regular while Portland was just six (44-38), it was understandable.

When the series shifted to Moda Center in Portland, the Trail Blazers defeated the Clippers in Game 3 with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul still playing, and they were leading the Clippers in Game 4 ahead of Paul’s injury in the third quarter and Griffin’s in the fourth on their way to tying the series 2-2.

Rivers gives the Trail Blazers a tip-of-the-cap for playing better than many might have thought they would.

“I think they have played wonderfully,” said Rivers, whose team lost Game 5 on Wednesday at Staples Center with Paul and Griffin on the shelf to fall behind 3-2. “I think they have played better defense than they did in the regular season, for sure. Offensively, they really haven’t played great, but they haven’t had to. We haven’t played great offense, but a lot of that is because of their defense, so you have to give them credit.”

Portland allowed 104.3 points during the season, 20th in the NBA. Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts intimated it’s been about focus.

“I think everybody’s really locked in,” he said before Game 6 at Moda Center. “We’re more consistent. We haven’t had a lot of areas where for two, three, four minutes we had a lot of letdowns.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers jokes about Blake Griffin’s PRP injection: ‘We took Advil’

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


While Chris Paul (fractured hand) was on the bench helping Doc Rivers coach the team during its 108-98 Game 5 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday at Staples Center, Blake Griffin (partially torn left quad tendon) was in another part of the arena taking in the game. Griffin was spotted afterward on crutches slowly making his way through the hallway near the Clippers’ locker room.

It turns out Griffin had a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection, a popular procedure often used by NBA players to speed up recovery. The injection is made into the injury.
Rivers, a former player, joked about it post-game.

“Yeah, whatever that stuff is, yeah,” he said. “We took Advil. We didn’t have the stuff they have now.”

Game 6 is Friday night at Moda Center in Portland. The Trail Blazers are up 3-2.

J.J. Redick: Clippers must ‘figure out’ way to win Game 6 at Portland

Trail Blazers beat emotional Clippers 108-98, take 3-2 lead

Clippers coach Doc Rivers looks down as he leans on the scorer’s table during the second half of the Clippers’ 108-98 Game 5 loss to Portland on Wednesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


With their 108-98 Game 5 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at Staples Center, the Clippers are on the brink of elimination as Portland now leads the series 3-2.

Game 6 is Friday at Portland. A Clippers victory would bring the series back to Staples Center for Game 7. It is a tall order, considering the Clippers will again be without their two stars – Chris Paul (fractured hand) and Blake Griffin (partially torn quad tendon).

Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick was asked post-game Wednesday to talk about the team’s mindset heading to Portland.

“I don’t want to use every cliche in the book, but this is the most important game of the year,” he said. “I guess there is no other way to say it. I don’t want to equate a basketball game to death, but it is do or die.

“We have to figure out a way to win the game and get it back here in front of our home crowd for Game 7.”


Clippers coach Doc Rivers would love to be able to lean on his mom

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill). Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu, right, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Wesley Johnson defends during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, ...

Wesley Johnson of the Clippers defends against Al-Farouq Aminu during the first half of the Trail Blazers’ 108-98 victory over the Clippers in Game 5 on Wednesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

Clippers coach Doc Rivers suddenly found it difficult to speak. Then he began to cry.
Rivers had just been asked who he leans on so he doesn’t get discouraged. It was a good question, considering the Clippers lost their two best players – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – to injury in a Game 4 loss Monday that tied their first-round playoff series 2-2 with the Portland Trail Blazers.

He was OK, for a moment.

“I don’t know,” he said Wednesday at the pre-game news conference ahead of Game 5 at Staples Center, won 108-98 by the Trail Blazers, who took a 3-2 series lead with Game 6 on Friday at Portland. “That’s a good question.”

Then the tears came, and he managed to push out a few more words.

“I’m not crying over being discouraged,” he said. “(The reporter) made me think about my mom. That would have been the person.”

Rivers’ mom, Bettye, passed away in June of 2015. It sounds like she might have been the first person her son called when the bottom fell out Monday in Portland when Paul sustained a fractured right hand and Griffin aggravated his partially torn left quad tendon. Paul is out four to six weeks, Griffin for the season.