Austin Rivers Playing A Huge Role For Los Angeles Clippers


The NBA Playoffs are in full swing now as all four conference semifinals are under way. Before the playoffs started we highlighted all of the former Duke Blue Devils that were taking part in this years playoffs and what impact they might have for their teams. Kyrie Irving was the biggest focus obviously, but the biggest surprise so far has been Austin Rivers.

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Coming into the playoffs it was expected that Rivers would have a minor impact for the Clippers but because Chris Paul is bothered by a hamstring injury, his role has increased exponentially. Paul missed game one of the Clippers series against the Houston Rockets, which meant Rivers was thrust into the starting lineup.

Rivers didn’t get off to the best start on Monday night but he made some big plays and ended up having a very good game in the Clippers road victory. He is certainly no Paul, but he held his own on Monday night and put up some nice numbers. Rivers finished the game with 17 points, three assists, and four steals while shooting 4-6 from the three point line.

Rivers has been much maligned ever since his one year at Duke. Many people thought he should not have left school after only one season, but Rivers did and struggled in his first two seasons in the NBA. Now though, it seems as though Rivers has found his niche in the NBA, playing under his father, Doc Rivers. Rivers may never become a superstar in the NBA, but he can clearly be a good role player for a team and like he showed on Monday night, he could even have a big time game when it’s needed.

It is unknown how much more, if any, time Chris Paul might miss, but if he does miss more time Rivers will be in there and have a huge opportunity. So far he’s off to a great start with his performance in game one and he will look to continue that on Wednesday night.

Other former Blue Devils still in the NBA Playoffs:

– J.J. Redick, Rivers’ backcourt mate on Monday night, scored 17 points all in the second half. His plus/minus was +20 in game one.

– Mike Dunleavy was on fire to start the game for the Bulls on Monday night as they stole game one from the Cavaliers. Dunleavy ended up with 14 points on 5-6 shooting and added seven rebounds.

– Kyrie Irving did everything he could to keep the Bulls from taking game one but it still wasn’t enough. While Lebron James didn’t have a great game, Irving scored 30 points including a stretch where he scored 10 straight points within a  90 second span to get the Cavs back in the game.