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Austin Rivers already wasn’t the most popular guy in Los Angeles, and the Clippers guard didn’t do himself any favors with a fan in the front row at Thursday’s loss to the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.
Already climbing an uphill battle as an underachieving lottery pick and the coach’s son on a perennially star-crossed roster, Rivers crashed into Clippers franchise player Blake Griffin’s knee on Monday, injuring the team’s best hope for a playoff spot this season, however unintentionally, and he was getting worked by Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell.
So, someone in some really expensive seats figured he’d get his money’s worth by lambasting the Clippers after they used the entirety of the 24-second shot clock before Rivers jacked an errant 3-pointer, flopped in an attempt to draw the foul and intentionally fouled Mitchell with his team down 19, just over three minutes left and his dad wanting to empty the bench for garbage time.
And the younger Rivers was in no mood to hear it:
During the break in action, he approached the fan, saying a bunch of inaudible remarks, among which you can faintly make out both, “I’m going to smack the [expletive] out of you … if you don’t shut the [expletive] up.”
The outburst — dubbed “directing inappropriate comments toward a fan” — cost Rivers a $25,000 fine, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe announced on Saturday.
Ladies and gentlemen, your post-Chris Paul Clippers, just as endearing as ever!
DeAndre Jordan eventually pulled Rivers aside, and he returned to the bench, where he continued to fire choice words across the court to the fan. Here’s how Rivers characterized the exchange afterwards:
“He was being a fairweather-ass fan,” said Rivers, per ClutchPoints.com’s Tomer Azarly. “He was talking [expletive] about the team, but he was cheering the first half. And then the second half he was talking about Steve Ballmer and Doc and DJ and saying demeaning stuff to my other teammates. ‘Austin and DJ, y’all need help.’ I don’t like that. I like fans who ride or die with you, and there’s a lot of good ones here that show up to the game.
“He was talking [expletive] about the team, not even me.”
Rivers said he later apologized and shook the fan’s hand because “I’m the professional, he’s not.”
Which, OK, sure.
Anyway, after Rivers berated the fan with a series of expletives, he turned those swears around to compliment Mitchell for an impressive performance (24 points, 9-of-16 shooting, six assists) in victory.
We should note Rivers is enjoying the best season of his career, averaging 13.8 points and 3.4 assists while shooting 38.2 percent from 3-point range, and he’s been even better in the Clippers’ recent 3-1 stretch, culminating in a 25-point, six-assist effort on 9-of-16 shooting in the loss to Utah. So, maybe just ignore the noise and keep playing like you’re playing, because haters aren’t going to hate you any less after you threaten to “smack the [expletive] out of them and tell them to “shut the [expletive] up.”
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