He gets to be a part of it all

Clip­pers point guard Austin Rivers won’t be on the out­side look­ing in dur­ing play­offs this year.

Los Angeles Times - - NBA - By Ben Bolch ben.bolch@la­times.com Twit­ter: @latb­bolch

Austin Rivers has re­peated the same rit­ual at the end of each regular sea­son — clean­ing out his locker.

The point guard has never made the play­offs in his brief NBA ca­reer, leav­ing him with sev­eral sum­mer al­ter­na­tives. He’s gone home to see fam­ily in Los An­ge­les and Or­lando, Fla. Last year, he went to Hous­ton to train with for­mer NBA player and coach John Lu­cas and watch the play­offs.

They can seem to last for­ever for some­one on the out­side en­vi­ously look­ing in.

“It seems like it’s very long,” Rivers said, “so it’s tough.”

Be­com­ing a Clip­per via a mid­sea­son trade has eased Rivers’ bur­den. He’s go­ing to the play­offs next week and, yes, you could say he’s happy to be here.

“You want to play be­cause that’s when every­body makes a name, that’s when teams make a name and that’s when ev­ery­thing hap­pens,” Rivers said. “It’s when money time hap­pens.”

Rivers has been what the Clip­pers ex­pected af­ter ac­quir­ing the third-year player in Jan­uary. He’s pro­vided su­pe­rior length at his po­si­tion, solid de­fense and an ag­gres­sive ap­proach lead­ing the of­fense.

His value tran­scends his mod­est statis­tics, which are mostly on par with his ca­reer av­er­ages. Rivers is av­er­ag­ing 7.2 points, 2.0 re­bounds and 1.7 as­sists in 19.5 min­utes per game. He has ex­pe­ri­enced a sig­nif­i­cant uptick in shoot­ing ac­cu­racy, mak­ing 42.3% of his shots as op­posed to his ca­reer av­er­age of 39.6%.

His ac­cep­tance in the locker room as the son of Coach Doc Rivers was unof­fi­cially sealed last month when Blake Grif­fin im­i­tated Austin Rivers’ cocky de­meanor run­ning the of­fense and chucked a shot over the back­board in a video that went vi­ral. Grif­fin hugged Rivers at the end of the video, pro­vid­ing as­sur­ance the im­pres­sion was all in good fun.

Doc Rivers, a vet­eran of 10 play­off sea­sons as a player and 11 as a coach, said his only ad­vice to his son would be to fully pre­pare for each op­po­nent.

“I tell all our guys that,” the el­der Rivers said. “That’s the only way, be­cause the game is go­ing to be real fast for all the young guys. It just is. But the more pre­pared you are, the more com­fort­able you feel go­ing in.”

Austin Rivers said he didn’t an­tic­i­pate feel­ing any ad­di­tional pres­sure to per­form on bas­ket­ball’s big­gest stage.

“The play­offs is the play­offs; you go play and the best team wins,” he said. “If you lose, you try next year. I’m just su­per ex­cited.”

Rivers will be­come a re­stricted free agent this sum­mer af­ter the con­tract that pays him $2.4 mil­lion this sea­son ex­pires. He still in­tends to spend time in Or­lando in the com­ing months be­cause he is build­ing a house there.

Will Rivers be get­ting a place in Los An­ge­les, which would mean he’s stay­ing with the Clip­pers?

“We’ll see,” he said.

Winslow Town­son As­so­ci­ated Press

AUSTIN RIVERS, who came to the Clip­pers in a mid­sea­son trade, says he’s “just su­per ex­cited” to play in the post­sea­son.

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