Clippers' Austin Rivers puts up 28, puts up with teammates' barbs

Clippers' Austin Rivers puts up 28, puts up with teammates' barbs
Clippers guard Austin Rivers throws down one of his four dunks against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Apparently a career-high 28 points from Austin Rivers wasn't enough.

His teammates also wanted the Clippers reserve guard to exhibit a little pizazz during his team's 126-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night at Staples Center.

"We kind of made fun of him in the locker room," center DeAndre Jordan said after the game. "He did the same dunk four times. I told him, 'You need something a little better than that.'"

Rivers responded that he was conservative with his dunks because he wanted to make sure he didn't miss. That explanation didn't fly with Jordan, whose 170 dunks this season lead the NBA.

"I said, 'No, at the end, with your career high, you're supposed to at least dunk it backward or something.'" Jordan said. "And then he kind of sat there and he was like, 'Man. Yeah, I should have done something different.' I'm like, 'Yeah, you'll get it again, don't worry about it.'"

Rivers also surely wouldn't mind repeating his first trip to the media interview room as a Clipper for reasons other than being Coach Doc Rivers' son.

The younger Rivers earned the extra attention Saturday with perhaps the best all-around game of his three NBA seasons. He made 11 of 19 shots, including five of nine from beyond the three-point arc, to go with three steals, two assists and one rebound in 26 minutes.

The Clippers traded for Rivers last month probably never imagining he would be the leading scorer in a game in which Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford played.


"He got on the team with his defense," Doc Rivers said of his son. "He just kind of let his offense come and now it's coming."

Austin Rivers' scoring output has improved appreciably since he departed New Orleans. He is averaging 7.8 points with the Clippers as opposed to 6.8 with the Pelicans even though he is playing nearly three minutes less per game with his new team.

"What's so nice about playing here is that guys literally just go out there and play," Austin said. "We just play hard and everything else comes. You can take a shot and you're not getting yelled at, you just play and that's the way I've always played my whole life and it's nice to finally be back into that."

Austin said the sore left foot that had sidelined him the previous game against San Antonio had improved. But Doc Rivers said his team still might sign another guard so that Crawford could remain at shooting guard in case of an injury to Paul or Austin.

Austin's biggest concern Saturday had shifted from his foot to his smart-alecky teammates.

"Twenty-eight points!" Jordan said as he lumbered into the interview room. "I shot 28 free throws the other day."

Deadpanned Austin: "This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis."


Jordan's NBA-record streak of shooting at least 50% from the field in 40 consecutive games ended when he made five of 11 shots against the Kings. . . . The Clippers did not practice Sunday.

Twitter: @latbolch

Times staff writer Melissa Rohlin contributed to this report.