He said this would serve as a perfect opportunity for the Clippers to grow and learn in the absence of their leader, and would enable Paul to come back healthy and fresh for the stretch run.
The first half of that plan has so far worked out better than even Rivers could have imagined. After the Clippers' 109-95 win over the New York Knicks on Friday, the Clippers have won five straight and six of seven without Paul and have lost only once in 2014.
How it happened: The Clippers began to pull away late in the third quarter as both teams shot less than 40 percent through three periods. After going back and forth, the Clippers went on an 11-0 run to end the third quarter and never looked back.
What it means: The Clippers are a pretty good team even without Paul, and may be able to get through these six weeks better than most anticipated. L.A.'s five-game winning streak ties its longest unbeaten run of the season.
Hits: Blake Griffin was all over the court and made his presence felt on both ends. He finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Jamal Crawford was equally impressive and was once again making a case to be the Sixth Man of the Year after he felt he was robbed last season by Knicks guard J.R. Smith. Crawford had 29 points and four assists.
Three other Clippers starters scored in double figures, led by DeAndre Jordan who had 11 points and 16 rebounds.
Misses: It was a rough night for Jared Dudley, who had only three points on 1-of-4 shooting against the Knicks. In fact, Dudley finished the game with more fouls (5) than points (3).
Stat of the game: The Clippers shot only 42.3 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from beyond the arc and were still able to win thanks to their defense and, well, the Knicks' horrendous shot selection.
Up next: The Clippers leave New York and immediately board a flight to Indianapolis for a tough back-to-back against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. The Pacers have the best record in the league (31-7) and defeated the Clippers the last time the teams played last month, 105-100, in a game Paul George had 27 points and David West had 12 rebounds.