A month ago, Austin Rivers He was at home, outside the NBA and waiting for his phone to ring for another chance.
On Thursday night, Rivers took the lead in a major NBA playoff game, scoring 16 of a supercharged 21 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Denver Nuggets 120-115 over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3.
The win gave the Nuggets a 2-1 lead.
“I sat there for a month and a half and waited for the phone to ring. I put my trust in God, talked to myself, talked to God, ‘What’s the plan? What’s going to happen?'” Rivers. Said. “With all the feedback I get, a lot of teams like me, but they don’t know what kind of character I am, how I’ve been in their locker room. My basketball ability has never been questioned, as a person who I am. It’s really even worse.
“It really broke my heart because I knew who I was, I always had a good relationship with people, but you could have an example with mistakes and something could be named.”
Rivers waited for that call after he was traded on a three-team deal for a period of time from the New York Knicks to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Star Point Guardian signed a 10-day deal with Denver on April 20, a week later Jamal Murray He tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season. Rivers signed on April 30 for the rest of the season.
“The baby couldn’t be happier,” coach Michael Malone said. “I told our team, ‘Think about it – the guy’s been home for two and a half months, waiting for his phone to ring. It’s not ringing. It’s crazy for me to even think about it. Austin Rivers is a good player. He’s played in 45 playoff games before this season, and he’s here. Is best for him and us. “
The son of Doug Rivers, Austin had a high-profile basketball career, which began with the much-coveted recruitment and eventually signed with Duke. He was drafted 10th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012, but eventually joined the Clippers in 2015 to play for his father. In 2018 he traded with Witches, then dealt with the Suns and discounted before signing with the Houston Rockets. He signed with the Knicks before this season, appearing in 21 games before he was traded.
“This game may bring you to the lowest sense of the world. I promise, some nights you can feel very low,” Rivers said. “Then this game can make you feel good about yourself too. It’s a beautiful game.”
Rivers did not want to elaborate on what kept him out of the league, but followed him about a specific incident earlier in his career. By the time he gets away from the game, he has plenty of opportunities to think about himself and how he can put it behind him.
“It was a humble experience,” he said. “But it has made me a better player. It has made me a better person.”
In Game 3, to go 5:55, the score was 91-91, setting a prime chance for Dame Time, but Rivers just flipped the script, hitting four 3s in the final six minutes.
“The funny thing is, he scored 16 points in that fourth quarter and shot into a big basket. Before that, he felt like he was rejecting open shots,” Malone said. “He didn’t shoot the ball. I told him three or four times, ‘Austin, let it go, let it fly, you have to shoot the ball when it’s open.’ Finally in that fourth quarter, he did. “
Packard’s stickiness of the Knuckles is a shining example of the culture of regression and toughness that Malone has established in his team. These are not just rivers, but important moments for the 30-year-old rookie Fosundo Compassso, Two-way player Shahul Harrison And the unformed rookie two-way player Marcus Howard.
“We’re a flexible team, we’re a tough team, we’re like the Statue of Liberty man, we carry everyone,” Malone said. “You come here. If you can bring something to the table to help us win a game, we’re going to throw you right there.”
Since Murray’s injury, Nuggets has been looking for complementary scores for MGP Nicola Jogic, Lean on the set of players any night. But as Blazers plan nuggets with a plan not to double the jockey, Denver’s role players are focused on advancing.
Jogic has provided the score in mostly single coverage throughout the series, dropping another 36 points in 24 of 12 shootings, but the extra scoring from unexpected places has been different in the last two games.
Nuggets regained the home court advantage by winning in Portland, and early changes accelerated the series as the Blazers faced defensive play. For the most part, this is a simple substitute: trust players to create plays and create scenes, just like they did on Thursday Reverse.
“Fighting is something we create as a Nuggets organization,” Jogik said. “We’re going to get your nerves.”