This time, the game was all about the Clippers being focused on getting past a not-very-good bunch of Boston Celtics.
It wasn't an easy game for the Clippers, but with Blake Griffin leading the way, Los Angeles defeated Boston, 111-105, Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Griffin had 29 points, six rebounds and eight assists to help send the Celtics to their sixth consecutive loss.
Griffin made nine of 14 shots from the field, 11 of 17 from the free-throw line.
Jamal Crawford had 26 points, but he made only eight of 26 from the field, going three for 12 from three-point range. Crawford also had six assists.
Even with all of that, the Clippers had their 14-point fourth-quarter lead cut to four points in the final minute and almost saw it cut to two points.
But Avery Bradley missed a drive under duress from Griffin's defense and the Clippers held on.
"I thought we played in spurts," Rivers said. "It just felt like every time we got a 12-point lead we relaxed, gave it up. Did it again."
Griffin had another of his poster dunks, this one a one-handed jam over Kris Humphries late in the third quarter, drawing a foul in the process.
Griffin glared at Humphries while the Celtics center stumbled to regain his balance from being dunked on. Griffin made the free throw for a three-point play.
But Griffin wasn't done, taking a charge on Jordan Crawford on Boston's next possession.
That led to a jumper by Jared Dudley, who had 18 points.
Griffin continued to be a handful for the Celtics in the fourth quarter, even drawing a flagrant one foul on Jared Sullinger on a power move to the basket.
His 18-foot jumper with 3:20 left gave the Clippers a 10-point lead and the breathing room they needed to get by the Celtics, who fell to 13-24.
"Blake has been great," Rivers said. "We just have to make sure we get him the ball in the right spots."
Griffin's running mate in the frontcourt, DeAndre Jordan, had another solid game with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Jordan's only issue was being intentionally fouled by the Celtics with 4:53 left and the Clippers leading by 11. Rivers decided to pull Jordan and replace him with Matt Barnes.
Rivers spent nine seasons in Boston, winning a championship in 2008 and losing to the Lakers in the Finals in 2010.
That put Rivers in select company in Celtics' lore, so it didn't come as a surprise when the Clippers played in Boston on Dec. 11 that he was honored by the team.
Rivers couldn't stop the tears from flowing, his emotions overtaking him during a ceremony thanking him for his time in Boston.
But that was then and this was now, and Rivers was past that night and doing what he could to coax a victory out of his Clippers team.
"You still get to see guys that you spent nine years with," Rivers said. "So, that's always nice, for sure."