James Harden had a usual night of scoring 32 points and getting eight assists. But it was Austin Rivers with the huge night that helped the Rockets get past the Sacramento Kings 129-112. Rivers went for a grand total of 41 points against the Kings. He was a huge support off the Rockets’ bench.
Highlights from Austin Rivers 41 Point Night!
Rivers was able to regain some of the confidence he had in back to back seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. Through the 2016-2018 seasons, Rivers averaged 13.5 points per game within two seasons with the Clippers. After his tenure ended with the Clippers, he was traded to the Washington Wizards. Rivers only averaged 7.1 points per game with the Wizards in 2018. And he was later traded to Rockets midseason of the 2017-2018.
Austin Rivers is a great one on one player because of the elite skills he has. He showcased his skills in high school in AAU Circuits. Rivers became ACC ROY and made the All-ACC team as a freshman at Duke by averaging 15.5 points per game. By these previous accolades, Rivers is great basketball.
Game Winner vs. Duke
“I believe I’m a premier scorer, but I’m on a team where that’s not required of me every night. I play with the best scorer in the NBA, so you’ve got to play a role and buy in,” as Rivers said after the game on Sunday.
Harden pushes Rivers everyday at practice and in the game. He wants Rivers to be more than just a role player. Rivers is not afraid of driving by defenders and hitting step-back three when needed. Russell Westbrook and Harden want Rivers to play with more confidence. The last time Rivers had a high scoring game, it was with the Clippers against the Memphis Grizzlies. Rivers had 38 points against the Grizzles on December 24, 2017.
“James came up to me during the game and said this is what we need, we need you to push yourself. It’s no coincidence, once you started to work harder, your game has elevated. James is the best player on our team but he’s also the hardest working guy on our team,” as Rivers told the media after Sunday’s game. “When you have a guy like James Harden telling you to go and Russell Westbrook telling you to go and that no one can stop you, that’s coming from two of the best players in the NBA. I don’t know what else you need.”