With star guard Russell Westbrook out, Austin Rivers exploded for a career-high 41 points en route to a Houston Rockets victory on Sunday.
In their 129-112 victory over the Sacramento Kings, Rivers shot 14-of-20 from the field and knocked down six 3-pointers.
With Russell Westbrook getting the night off, Austin Rivers went off for a career-high 41 points in a 129-112 win over the Sacramento Kings. Houston is now 4-1 in the bubble. Rivers shot 14-for-20 overall (6-of-11 from 3).
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) August 10, 2020
While Austin Rivers has displayed his scoring prowess several times, his 41-point explosion was pretty much unexpected given his average of 8.4 points per game.
With less than a minute left, the Rockets already had the victory in the bag. But Rivers remained on the floor to add to his total. As he reached the 40-point mark, his teammates — including James Harden — looked and cheered on.
Reports reveal that Eric Gordon, the Rockets’ third-leading scorer, is about to return. But Gordon hasn’t had the most productive season. So Rivers’ resurgence is definitely a welcome sign especially with the playoffs around the corner.
The Rockets will be heading to the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. While experts claim that the Mike D’Antoni-coached squad has fallen into mid-tier status this season, the Rockets are a dark horse team in the eyes of some.
To recall, they were just one game away from beating the powerhouse Golden State Warriors squad and making the NBA Finals in 2018. The team has undergone various player changes over the last two seasons. Rivers was one of those added onto the roster. Given his aggressiveness, shooting, and play-making abilities, he became a perfect fit for D’Antoni’s system.
The Rockets will face the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, followed by the Indiana Pacers, and the Philadelphia 76ers.