Austin Rivers has proved to be a glue guy for the Nuggets in his return
Nuggets fans, me included, have been waiting for the return of a couple extremely talented members of the roster. They are, of course, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
Those two are the long-term absentees on the roster this year. But there have been several other players in and out with injuries. One of those other players has come back. And when he did, he made an immediate impact.
Austin Rivers is now back in that Nuggets uniform. And he made his presence felt on Wednesday night in a terrific win at Brooklyn against the Nets.
The numbers bear out a terrific offensive game. Rivers had 25 points, with seven three-pointers. A whopping 22 of those 25 points came in the second half. But perhaps more valuable than the scoring was the glue he seemed to give the team, especially defensively.
The Nuggets have been notorious, this year, for having poor third quarters. But in this one, it almost appeared that Rivers was refusing to let his teammates take their collective feet off the gas pedal to start the second half.
You could see it in his body language and with this communication to teammates. His team was playing a depleted Nets team and he was refusing to let the game not end in a Nuggets win. He saw a road game there for the taking. He was exactly what the Nuggets needed at exactly the right time.
Rivers, of course, is the son of a former NBA star and current head coach. He grew up around the NBA game and is no doubt quite familiar with the great challenge that NBA coaches have in getting their players to play hard all the time.
Numerous head coaches over the years, including his dad, Doc, have stated that getting players to play hard all the time might be their biggest challenge. Rivers, the son, probably understands and appreciates that as much as any NBA player.
We are all awaiting the day when two key players are back in the lineup for the Nuggets. But another pretty key player is now back.
And it shows!