Rockets’ Austin Rivers out for Game 1 vs. Warriors with illness
The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors will do battle in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals, giving NBA fans perhaps the most intriguing playoff matchup in just the second round. The Rockets won three of the four regular-season games, but the Warriors won the latest contest on Mar. 13.
Houston had the best record in the NBA after the All-Star break, mostly because their roster was finally back to full strength thanks to a healthy Chris Paul and contributions from the likes of Kenneth Faried and Austin Rivers alongside the MVP-caliber play of James Harden.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, this stretch of good health has come to an end right before their most important run of the season. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Rivers will miss Game 1 due to illness:
Rockets guard Austin Rivers (illness) is out for Game 1 today vs. Warriors.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 28, 2019
Rivers saw a slightly diminished role in Houston’s first-round series against the Utah Jazz, playing in just over 17 minutes per game after starting in 13 games and averaging over 28 minutes per contest for the Rockets during the regular season.
Still, Rivers’ development as a pesky defender over the years has made him an agitator type very similar to that of Patrick Beverley of the Los Angeles Clippers. According to NBA.com, Rivers had a defensive rating of 93.2 against the Jazz, and the Rockets would have depended on him to match up with Stephen Curry.
Instead, Houston may have to rely more on Paul, particularly given the matchup problems that guys like Kevin Durant already provide for the Rockets’ smaller frontcourt.
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