They have become the powerful pair for the Clippers, one of them doing his supreme work as a starter and the other doing his masterful work off the bench.
Injuries have thrust Austin Rivers and Lou Williams into a dynamic duo role.
Without their dominant scoring, the Clippers would be in a world of trouble during this troublesome season.
It would not be this way, Williams correctly pointed out, if it weren’t for two key factors: leading scorer Blake Griffin (23.6 points per game) is out because of a left-knee injury and fourth-leading scorer Danilo Gallinari (13.4) is out because of a left-glute injury.
“Blake and Gallo were our two leading scorers before that, so when you’ve got 50-plus points off the floor, somebody has got to step in,” Williams said. “We understand.”
Williams is the Clippers’ sixth-man extraordinaire, a seemingly unflappable performer who has raised his game to the point of becoming the team’s second leading scorer (20.7 points per game).
Rivers, who also has recently raised his game as a starting guard, is third (16.2 points).
“We know going into every game it’s going to be up to us offensively,” Rivers said. “Lou looks at me right when the game starts and he says, ‘You start it off and when I come in the game we’ll just keep going.’ We’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
The last two games showed how much Williams and Rivers are needed on the offensive end.
They combined for 74 of the Clippers’ 112 points against Memphis and 68 of L.A.’s 128 points against Houston.
“I don’t know how you would define challenge. I mean, we’re just doing it,” Williams said. “I’ve always gotten doubled. Coming off the bench, people try to eliminate bench scorers, so that’s been my experience for years now. You just find ways to beat it.”
In the last two games, Rivers took his game to new heights.
His 36 points against the Rockets were a career high.
Then he topped that the very next night, dropping in 38 points against the Grizzlies for a new career high.
And Rivers said he did it knowing that “every single play” he’ll be double teamed.
“I know when I come off a pick-and-roll, they are just corralling me so I keep trying to attack the big (man) first before he can come up to me,” Rivers said. “It just throws him off. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”
Clippers-Rockets game protested
The Rockets have filed a protest in wake of the Clippers’ stunning upset of Houston on Friday night, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Rockets claim that Clippers rookie Jawun Evans committed his sixth foul with 3:10 left in the game and that he should have been out of the game. But the foul instead was incorrectly given to Lou Williams.
According to the Chronicle, an NBA spokesperson confirmed that the league was aware of the error.
The Clippers defeated the Rockets 128-118.
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.