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  • LA Clippers’ Austin Rivers can only sit and wait

    first_imgLOS ANGELES >> When injuries had decimated the Clippers and they were left among the playoff dead, one bloodied face rose from the rubble to keep the fight alive in last year’s first- round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.“It’s the complete opposite,” Austin Rivers said Saturday, “now I’m the one down. At least it’s something where I know I’m coming back.”Rivers was sat behind the Clippers bench during Game 1 against the Utah Jazz in a navy suit. He missed the final six games of the regular season with a strained left hamstring and is out for at least the first two games of the first-round series.“I would like to play tonight,” Rivers said. “I’m seeing all these other guys play tonight, Game 1 and I’m really anxious right now so I can only do so much. But I want to play. (I’ll) cheer my teammates on tonight.” In that series, Rivers became a symbol of the Clippers resilience, even as they lost in six games after starting the series with a 2-0 advantage. In Game 4 in Portland, Chris Paul suffered a broken hand and minutes later Blake Griffin was lost for the series with a quadriceps injury.After taking an elbow to the face early in Game 6, Rivers returned, bandaged, to finish with 21 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds.Rivers was a huge part of the Clippers success against Utah in the regular season. The Clippers went 3-1 in four games against Utah with Rivers averaging 15 points in four games while shooting 56.8 percent from the field – his best mark against any opponent.“Obviously he gives us offense with his penetration,” Doc Rivers said, “and that was big in the four games against Utah. And then his defense.”Austin Rivers was perhaps the Clippers most reliable defender in the regular season. With him sidelined, the Clippers shortened their bench rotation and won all seven of their final games.Saturday morning marked the first time Austin Rivers was able to shoot, and with two full days between games, and he did other on-court drills such as running light springs and dribbling. This came after a previous attempt to get back on the floor didn’t go so well.“I was on the court three or four days ago,” Rivers said, “and it didn’t really go as I planned. Didn’t feel good and they took me off and waited a couple more days, with a little treatment and stuff like that. Today we tried it again and it worked.”He said he hopes to return by Game 3, which is not until Friday in Salt Lake City.“We have a lot of space between games,” he said. “That’s a good week I have to get ready.”Riots rememberedDoc Rivers can’t forget one time when the Clippers and Jazz met in the playoffs. After losing the first two games in Utah in April of 1992, the Clippers returned to L.A. and won Game 3, seizing momentum in the series.The next day was April 29.“And then the Rodney King riots started,” Rivers said.After the series was delayed six days, a span in which Coach Larry Brown scrambled to find practice space for the Clippers, Rivers said, “because L.A. was closed.”When the series resumed on May 4, with the fourth game relocated to the Anaheim Convention Center, Rivers scored 17 points in a 115-107 Clippers win.“For the people of L.A.,” Rivers said, “it was the first time they could actually come out of their houses and rejoice and have fun again.”The Clippers resurgence ended when the series returned to Utah, with the Jazz winning Game 5, 98-89.“I don’t remember Game 5,” Rivers said bitterly.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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