LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Farmar had his best game as a Los Angeles Clipper on Monday night against the Detroit Pistons, but you wouldn't know it by looking at him as he sat in the locker room after the game.
Farmar, who scored a season-high 15 points to go along with five assists in 23 minutes off the bench, thought nights like this would be more commonplace than aberrations when he signed a two-year, $4.2 million contract with the Clippers in the offseason.
But Farmar and the Clippers have yet to get fully comfortable with each other 24 games into the season.
"I've been on him and probably riding him harder than anybody right now because I think he has that in him," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game. "Forget the offense. I just thought Jordan Farmar got into the ball, picked the ball up full-court and that turned his energy on. That's what I've been on him about. I tell him, 'You're going to play 20 minutes. There's no reason to save it.' I thought he was great. His defense changed the game."
Farmar wouldn't get into what Rivers told him but said, "He was just being tough on me. I just took in stride and tried to respond."
Did Rivers' tough love help Farmar respond with his best game of the season?
"That don't help me," Farmar said, shaking his head. "I'm just being honest, but I'm going to continue to try to play like that."
Farmar's biggest issue with the Clippers is getting inconsistent minutes and opportunities. While Rivers tells Farmar he's going to get 20 minutes per night, Farmar has played 20 or more minutes just three times this season, including Monday's game. On the season, he's averaging 14.7 minutes per game, averaging 4.3 points, 1.8 assists and 1.2 rebounds. Each statistic represents a career low for the 28-year-old point guard.
"When you don't play a lot, yeah," Farmar said when asked about the difficulty in adjusting to playing with the Clippers. "You don't take more than two shots, and if they go in, you had a good night, and if they don't, you struggled. It's tough. There's no substitute for the game. Even if you go in [and practice] and play one-on-one or two-on-two or three-on-three. You just have to stick with it. Things happen. It's a long season.
"Hopefully, nobody gets hurt, but we're part of the NBA and there are a lot of ups and downs throughout the season. You just have to stay ready and mentally tough and continue to work."
While Darren Collison was able to play with Chris Paul last season and was used a defensive weapon, that's simply not an option with Farmar, who isn't on Collison's level as a defender. Paul and Collison averaged 11.6 minutes together on the court last season, but Paul and Farmar are averaging just 2.4 minutes together. And while Collison was able to be a true point guard last season for the second unit, Jamal Crawford is often the one bringing up the ball for the second unit.
"I just need to find a way to get more comfortable and get them more comfortable with me and build as we go," Farmar said. "It's a long season and I've been trying to fit in, and sometimes you just got to make a statement and that's all I was trying to do, just really be aggressive."