Houston’s Austin Rivers trends on social media as Rockets dig 0-2 playoff hole

Guard Austin Rivers returned to the Houston Rockets’ lineup on Tuesday night for Game 2 of the team’s NBA playoff series against the Golden State Warriors and quickly made an impact – at least on social media.

Some unsteady footwork and less-than-deft dribbling by Rivers during Houston’s 115-109 loss had some fans poking fun at the 26-year-old son of Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers. But others admired his tenacity for trying to help Houston overcome a bad night for star James Harden -- who was affected by pokes to both eyes.

Houston Rockets' Austin Rivers (25) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors' Jonas Jerebko, right rear, defends during the first half of Game 2 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Associated Press)

Houston Rockets' Austin Rivers (25) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors' Jonas Jerebko, right rear, defends during the first half of Game 2 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Associated Press)

Rivers, who missed Game 1 with an illness, is seen falling down during one play, losing his balance – and the ball -- during a drive to the basket and falling out of bounds after appearing to get poked with a finger during the game in Oakland, Calif.

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Some fans were relentless in their responses.

Others were more appreciative of Rivers' effort.

Rivers played 24 minutes and contributed 14 points from the bench on 5-for-8 shooting. He was 4-for-6 from the 3-point line, and had two assists, but racked up three turnovers and four fouls.

It was a tough night all around for Houston. Harden got hit in both eyes but still managed to score 29 points and collect seven rebounds.

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“I could barely see,” Harden told reporters after the game.

Golden State’s Steph Curry had a rough time as well, dislocating his left middle finger in the first quarter, but he returned to action after having the finger taped.

Game 3 will be Saturday in Houston.