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2017 NBA Playoffs: Austin Rivers Ruled OUT For Game 2, “Probably” OUT Game 3

The Clippers will continue to miss their best bench player.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Rivers, the Clippers’ best bench player, will miss at least one more game with a left hamstring strain, and could miss more, according to ESPN’s Jovan Buha:

Rivers’ contributions on both ends of the floor were sorely missed in the first game of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, as Joe Johnson erupted for 21 points off of the bench. With Luc Mbah a Moute occupied with Utah’s leading scorer, Gordon Hayward, Rivers is the Clippers’ second-most reliable wing defender. Rivers also could have played a significant role with J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford both struggling enormously.

Austin appeared in 74 regular-season games for the Clippers, playing 27.8 minutes a night and posting averages of 12 points, 2.8 assists, 2 rebounds, and 0.7 steals. He shot 44.2% from the field, 37.1% from three, and 69.1% from the free throw line—all career highs. In 29 starts, which came across all three perimeter positions, Rivers averaged 16 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds while shooting 46% from the field and 42% from deep.

In 20 playoff games as a Clipper over the last two seasons, Rivers has played 19.7 minutes per game, averaging 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. Notably, each playoff series since he joined the team has featured at least one “Austin Rivers Game”, where his impact (either off of the bench or as a fill-in for an injured starter) has swung a game. Most notably, Rivers scored 21 points while also adding 8 assists and 6 rebounds in the Clippers’ elimination game in Portland last season, leading the team despite exiting the team in the first quarter to receive eleven stitches on a cut near his eye.

In the 2015 playoffs, Rivers swung game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs when he scored 16 points off of the bench on 7-8 shooting. Later in the 2015 playoffs, he scored 17 points and made four threes as the starting point guard for the Clippers’ game 1 win in Houston, and scored 25 points off of the bench in the Clippers’ resounding game 3 win in the same series.