Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Mavericks [Print without images]

Monday, January 16, 2012
Mike Brown, Dirk Nowitzki downplay revenge, rivalry

By Jeff Caplan

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Revenge and a renewed rivalry as the Dallas Mavericks face the Los Angeles Lakers tonight for the first time since the playoff sweep, are not high on anybody's agenda.

Both teams lost key players from last season's teams and the Lakers are breaking in new a new coach in Mike Brown, who has the unenviable task of following up Phil Jackson. After the Lakers' Monday morning shootaround, Brown said he has watched last season's Mavs playoff sweep, but a good while ago and therefore not in the context of playing this game.

He said getting some quick revenge, as seemed to be a major factor for the Miami Heat in the Christmas Day opener, has barely been a topic of conversation.

"Fish [Derek Fisher] had said something to the group," Brown said. "There’s some guys on this team that are playing that weren’t part of it, like myself, I wasn’t part of it, so it’s a little hard for us to probably feel it -- does that make sense? – in terms of the motivation. But, maybe for Fish and some of the guys that were here last year, they might feel it a little bit."

The Dallas-L.A. rivalry has been dominated by the by purple-and-gold for so long that Dirk Nowitzki downplayed the notion of a bona fide rivalry between the two franchises.

"Well, you know, usually when you’re a rival you’ve got to beat them more than once in the playoffs," Nowitzki said. "I mean, they’ve got five rings; we beat them one time in the playoffs. So, I don’t know about all that. We did play a great playoff series last year and were able to beat them and move on and get ourselves a first ring, but I don’t know. It’s always fun games to play there, a great atmosphere and great stadium, so we’ve got to be ready."