Monday, December 19, 2011
Lakers not focusing on Clippers
By Dave McMenamin
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The curtain came up on the NBA preseason in L.A. on Monday when the host Los Angeles Lakers lost to the new-look Los Angeles Clippers 114-95, as both teams played their first game at Staples Center in more than seven months.
While the Clippers' resurgence has grabbed national headlines with the additions of Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler, the storylines surrounding the Lakers have focused on a potential letdown after the team was blocked from acquiring Paul and then traded Lamar Odom away for no players in return.
The Clippers might be getting all the hype right now, but they don't appear to be getting the Lakers' attention.
"We're not worried about the Clippers," said coach Mike Brown after the team's shootaround on Monday. "We have to worry about ourselves. We still have a long way to go before we can start worrying about other teams."
Brown, who claims he had a losing overall record in the preseason when he was with Cleveland, even though his teams won 60-plus regular-season games in his last two seasons with the Cavaliers, said the preseason is good because it "doesn't count." In other words, there will be no trophy waiting for the Lakers if they beat the Clippers on Monday.
"We're not trying to win the L.A. Cup," Brown said. "Is that what it's called, the L.A. Cup? We don't need to go pick up the brown barrel or the brown jug because we won the series 4-3 and won the preseason 2-0."
The Lakers were the home team Monday and will be the road team when they play the Clippers at the Staples Center again on Wednesday.
"If we won and we won big, I don't feel like the Clippers would think that the next time we play them that they're going to lose just because we won big tonight," Brown said. "Because I know if they win big tonight, to me it doesn't mean anything."
Brown said the Lakers do have one team in their sights, but it's not their crosstown rivals.
"To me, when you start thinking about another team, there's only one team that comes to mind in my opinion and that's the Dallas Mavericks because they were NBA champions," Brown said. "That's where we want to be."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.