As for Austin Rivers, he proved himself right with his career-high 41 points in the Houston Rockets’ 129-112 victory over Kings Sacramento on Sunday.
“You keep saying to yourself, ‘You can do this, you can do this, you can do this, you can do this,’ for nights like this,” said Rivers, who had more points. from a Rocket stockpile since Sleepy Floyd in 1991. “I believe I’m a leading scorer.
“This is how I feel, but I’m on a team that is not required of me every night. I play with the NBA top scorer, and I play with the other one of the NBA top scorers, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. So you have to play a role and buy in. That̵7;s what basketball wins, and that’s what I’m part of, so that ‘s what I do. “When you enter that area, there’s nothing better than that. It’s just different. Man, it was a fun, fun night.”
Rivers, who entered the night averaging 8.4 points per game this season, played a much more prominent role than usual due to Westbrook (thigh entanglement) and Eric Gordon (ankle) stagnating against the Kings. The Rockets are optimistic the two will be able to return this week, according to coach Mike D’Antoni.
In the meantime, Rivers enjoyed having the ball in their hands much more often than he was accustomed to. He was 14th-20th from the floor, 6th-11th from the 3-point range and 7th-8th from the free throw line in 33 minutes.
“He was in attack,” said Harden, who had 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. “He’s been going to the gym in the morning, shooting and working on his jump shot, so that kind of gave him his confidence. Of course without Russ and without Eric, he had to be a little more aggressive. He He did it. “
Rivers, an eight-year veteran with a career-high 9.1 points per game, realizes that some may ridicule his belief that he is an elite goal scorer. However, he considers that trust a job requirement.
“I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s just the way you should feel,” Rivers said. “Whether you are 0-for-6 or 6-for-6, 8-for-8, it does not matter. I do not think you reach this level thinking that someone can save you individually. I ‘I definitely “A one-on-one player. I always feel like I have a chance to score on anyone. Whether people see it or not, it’s up to them, but I know how I feel.”
The Rivers had 19 points in the first half – a total he surpassed in just two previous games this season – to help Houston emerge from an early deficit of 13 points. With the Missiles easily guided, Rivers scored 18 points in the fourth quarter.
With his teammates in the loud banner rooted for him, Rivers scored 11 points in the final 4:12. He admitted he knew how close he was to his 38-point career high – set in a LA Clippers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on December 23, 2017 – when he checked back into the game and that he was determined to achieved a new personal best.
“I’m going to get it,” Rivers said. “But I still wanted to do it the right way. I did not want to go down and catch anything. I caught some shots, but that is why it is fun to play on this team. You have guys encouraging it. They were giving me the ball. It ‘s not like I’m following him, I’m getting it. You had guys aware of that and it was the last two minutes of the game. The whole game was natural, just flowing. The best way to do it. had a night like tonight “.