Rivers tallied 15 points (6-12 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT), five rebounds, four assists and a steal over 37 minutes in Monday's 104-78 preseason loss to the Jazz.
With Chris Paul and the rest of the first unit save for J.J. Redick getting the night off, Rivers spearheaded the Clippers' lackluster offensive attack. Both the scoring total and playing time were preseason highs for the 24-year-old, who bounced back nicely from the field after a 2-for-12 performance against this same Jazz squad last Monday. As it stands, Rivers appears set to open the regular season as Paul's primary backup, although versatile offseason acquisition Raymond Felton is expected to receive plenty of run off the bench as well.
Chris Paul is getting the night off to rest, which is the reason for Rivers drawing the start. Paul is expected to return Tuesday in the Clippers' preseason finale, so Rivers will likely return to his back up role.
Rivers (groin) returned to practice on Saturday after sitting out Thursday's preseason matchup with Portland, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Though Rivers was held out of Thursday's game his injury was never thought to be overly serious and he likely would have played had it not been the preseason. He'll be expected to play in the Clippers' next preseason game, against the Jazz on Monday.
Rivers contributed seven points (2-12 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 3-3 FT), four assists, four rebounds and two steals across 32 minutes in Monday's 96-94 preseason loss to the Jazz.
Rivers saw more court time than any other player on either side, but the expanded minutes didn't translate to an effective fantasy night for the combo guard. Though he demonstrated marked improvement with his shooting last season in hitting a career-best 43.8 percent of his attempts from the field, Rivers' jumper still remains a liability as he enters his fifth NBA season, and he's a well below-average shooter from beyond the arc. Those shortcomings notwithstanding, Rivers still appears primed to open the upcoming season as the top backup at point guard behind Chris Paul, but the addition of Raymond Felton this summer represents a potential threat to his minutes.
Rivers opted out of his player option with the Clippers earlier in the week so that he could test free agency, and after exploring his options he decided to re-up with the Clippers, though the financial details of the deal haven't been released. Last season, Rivers averaged a career high 8.9 points per game and 44 percent field goal percentage while playing 21.9 minutes per game as the team's backup point guard. He'll likely see a similar role with the team going forward.
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