Austin Rivers is making an impact for the Clippers

Austin Rivers is making an impact for the Clippers
Clippers guard Austin Rivers goes up for a dunk on a breakaway in the first half against the Knicks. (Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images)

When the Clippers' second unit was subbed into Wednesday's game against the New York Knicks, the team's general was not at all pleased with what he saw.

"Chris got on me the first 30 seconds that the second unit got out there," Austin Rivers said of Chris Paul. "They got an offensive rebound and a three."

Rivers said Paul pulled him aside and had a little talk with him.

"You're playing for the playoffs," Rivers said Paul told him.

The Clippers are in fifth place in the Western Conference with a record of 47-25 and only 10 games left in the regular season.

Rivers, 22, is in his third season in the league, and this is the first time that he's on a team that's a real playoff contender. Paul apparently wanted to make sure that Rivers understood that each game counts at this point in the season when teams are battling for home-court advantage.

The message got through loud and clear.

Rivers went on to score 21 points on a nearly impeccable nine for 10 shooting from the field in 19 minutes off the bench in the team's 111-80 win over the Knicks.

The Clippers' reserve guard, whom the team signed in January, fit in right away with the Clippers and is growing more and more comfortable on the court.

"There's no more, 'I've got to make this shot or that shot,'" Rivers said. "I don't think no more. When you do that, you do what you do."

Rivers has averaged 6.8 points in 19.3 minutes a game over 31 games with the Clippers this season, including three games in which he's scored 20 points or more. He had a career-high 28 points on 11 for 19 shooting against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 21.

On Wednesday, Rivers made nine straight shots before missing his 10th attempt nearly halfway through the fourth quarter.

"In the game, I was thinking, 'Did I miss?'" Rivers said. "But I just kept shooting, kept getting good looks. I didn't come down and jack a three. I was coming off of pick and rolls and getting good looks."

Rivers said he truly believes in the team's second unit.

"When we get in there now, it's not like, OK let's try and hold the lead," he said. "It's like, let's try and increase the lead. We feel like we're better than any second unit out there."