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Behind The Bench: The Los Angeles Clippers Don’t Really Seem To Like Austin Rivers

Comedian and comedy theater founder Chris Trew is a New Orleans Pelicans superfan who has a single season ticket directly behind the visitors’ bench inside New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center, where he interacts with the opposing team’s players and coaches. He will be documenting some of his experiences here for us in a regular column called, Behind the Bench. You can follow his in-game interactions live on Twitter at@Trew2theGame. The Pelicans’ opponent in this column: the Los Angeles Clippers, who visited New Orleans on Thursday, December 31.

The Clippers come with truckloads of passion and excitement for the game of basketball. DeAndre Jordan’s warmup routine was a comedy show. Paul Pierce gives off a basketball aura I’ve never experienced before. Austin Rivers is…well, let’s talk about Doc Rivers’ boy.

— Austin Rivers tells jokes that his teammates do not enjoy listening to. He tries really hard to be one of the guys, but receives only reluctant pats on the back when he does something well. At one point during the game, Rivers blew a defensive assignment and was immediately pulled out of the game by Doc, then whined to an assistant about how he did what his dad said to do. The rest of the Clippers don’t appear to take Austin seriously. When asked, “Do you miss New Orleans?”, Austin replied, “Hell no. Hate it here. But I love the people. The people make this place great.” I heard him spout this rehearsed awkwardness a couple more times throughout the game. I hope Austin Rivers is in the league for 20 more years.

— Two fans on my left were fancied up in suits and kept asking Paul Pierce for a picture all game. Finally in the second half The Truth turned around and berated them for getting so dressed up. “Why suits? You ain’t at work” followed by “Relax, take it easy, this is the NBA.” Then finally, “You’re not owners. You don’t own the team, so why dress up?” Maybe the best way to get into Paul Pierce’s head is to overdress for an NBA game.

Austin Rivers, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul
Getty Image

— A distraction trick I’ve found that works nearly every time is shouting out an incorrect shot-clock countdown when the opposing team has the ball. Typically, the players listen for their coaches to shout out the numbers and fire when they hear them count down “3…2…1.” So when the shot clock hits six I’ll occasionally begin counting down from three, and the player with the ball often (and surprisingly) chucks up a shot. I was amazed when this worked the first time I tried it and it’s definitely a special move I pull out once or twice per game. It’s worked every. single. time. Tonight it didn’t and even worse, the player who hit the shot was Austin Rivers. The Clippers assistant coaches came at me hard, thanking me and laughing at my failed special move. I took it in stride and I have to say, the Clippers coaches were tons of fun.

— Speaking of the coaches, around the tenth time the Clippers’ staff cried about an obvious foul call, I pretended to have their back when I shouted, “The Clippers haven’t committed a foul all season!” An assistant turned around and barked back, “That’s the smartest thing you said all game, thank you.” That guy is my kind of assistant: playful, able to take a break from the game to shut down a fan, and here for a good time. Good on you, Clippers assistants.

— In the middle of the fourth quarter DeAndre Jordan picked up a foul and I gave him some sh*t for it. This inspired Paul Pierce to turn around to lecture me on what foul trouble is and isn’t in the NBA (I was getting after DeAndre following his third foul).

– Even though he logged a DNP-CD (Did Not Play – Coaches Decision) in this one, Lance Stephenson and I were silently duking it out all game long. During timeouts, I would stare at him while gently combing my beard. Lance one-upped me when he put his hands down his pants and just stared at me right back.

— After outing the Clippers for being a bunch of litter bugs, the team Twitter account came at me:

For the record, they did not clean up the mess they made.

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