Jordan Farmar needed to get going. Doc's orders.
The Clippers reserve point guard had made a minimal impact through the first quarter of the season, and his coach was demanding a breakthrough in less than polite terms.
"I've been on him, riding him harder than anybody right now," Doc Rivers conceded, "because I think he has that in him."
Farmar finally pleased his coach Monday night at Staples Center during the Clippers' 113-91 win over the Detroit Pistons.
He made his first five shots on the way to a season-high 15 points to go with five assists in only 23 minutes. He also revived the Clippers' sluggish early defense.
"His defense changed the game single-handedly," Rivers said. "I believe the point guard sets the tone and when your second-unit point guard can come in and do that defensively, then good things will happen."
Farmar said after the game that he was trying to respond to his coach's harsh words. Not that he felt they necessarily helped. "That don't help me," Farmar said. "But I'm going to continue to keep trying to play like this."
It's been a rough start for a player who signed a two-year, $4.2-million contract this summer that includes a team option for next season. Farmar has averaged 4.8 points and 1.9 assists in only 15 minutes per game, his worst numbers since his rookie season with the Lakers.
Farmar has received encouragement from former UCLA teammate Darren Collison, who also struggled early in his first season as a Clipper before playing a prominent role in helping the team after Chris Paul suffered a separated shoulder.
"I'm not wishing [injuries] upon anybody here this year," Farmar said. "I want to do what I can do with the opportunity I'm given."
Ticket to ride
The day after Paul was traded to the Clippers, three years ago Monday, may have been nearly as memorable for the All-Star point guard as the day of the trade itself.
Paul received a ticket for talking on his cellphone while driving. "I didn't know it was hands-free," Paul said of California traffic laws.
Meanwhile, his new teammates were celebrating the arrival of a star and the birth of a nickname. Lob City was created when DeAndre Jordan informed Blake Griffin at a team function that Paul was on his way from New Orleans.
"He was like, 'Oh, CP3! We're about to get lobs!' " Jordan recalled. "And I was like, 'Yeah, it's going to be good.'
"Chris has helped us so much. He's helped our growth, both me and Blake and even our whole team, the organization. With him, we've shot up to a different level."
CLIPPERS VS. INDIANA PACERS
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980, 1330.
Records: Pacers 8-17; Clippers 17-7.
Record vs. Pacers: 1-0.
Update: The Pacers are coming off a blowout victory in which they held the Lakers to 27 points in the first half, but they’ve been unable to sustain anything more than a two-game winning streak this season. They had lost eight straight before Monday’s win. The Clippers emerged with a 103-96 victory over Indiana last week at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, holding on after the Pacers had pulled to within two points late in the game.
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch