Austin Rivers had one of his best games of the season against the Jazz on Thursday night. He scored 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting and added 6 assists during the contest. But the Clippers got blown out 126-107 thanks to a 21-4 run by Utah in the fourth quarter, and towards the end of the game, Rivers’ outstanding performance was marred by a confrontation he had with a fan who was seated courtside.
During the heated exchange, Rivers appeared to say, "I’ll smack the shit out of you," to the fan. He also told the fan to "shut the fuck up" before he was eventually subbed out of the game. It was clear Rivers got caught up in the heat of the moment and let his frustrations get the better of him, but he was so upset with the situation that his teammate DeAndre Jordan had to come over to him and settle him down.
After the game, Rivers explained why he was so angry at the fan. According to him, the guy was actually a Clippers fan who was cheering for Rivers and his teammates in the first half. But once things went south, Rivers claims the fan turned on the team and spent much of the second half heckling them.
"He was being a fairweather ass fan," Rivers said, according to ClutchPoints. "He was talking shit about the team, but he was cheering the first half. And then the second half he was talking about Steve Ballmer and Doc [Rivers] and DJ and saying demeaning stuff to my other teammates. 'Austin and DJ, y’all need help.' I don’t like that. I like fans who ride or die with you, and there’s a lot of good ones here that show up to the game. He was talking shit about the team, not even me."
While Rivers didn’t appreciate the approach the fan took to the game, he was also quick to point out that he went out of his way when it was over to make peace with the fan. He said that he apologized to him for losing his cool.
"I went up after the game and apologized to the guy because at the end of the day, I’m the professional, he’s not," Rivers said. "We shook hands and said, 'My bad.'"
This is not the first time Rivers has gotten into it with a fan during a game. Because he plays for the team his dad Doc coaches, he’s routinely subjected to all kinds of heckling, and he’s gone after fans before for crossing the line with the things they’ve said to him. But this is one of the few times he’s been caught on camera doing it for everyone to see. You can check out his exchange with the fan in the clip above.