Doc focused on title, not rivalry
SAN DIEGO -- Doc Rivers is trying to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to their first NBA title this season, but the team's new coach understands that no matter what happens, Los Angeles is a Lakers town.
"It always will be," Rivers said.
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So how do the Clippers go about changing that?
"We're not going to try," Rivers said. "We're just going to fight for our fans. We don't want to take away the Lakers' fans. They're great. They have forged their own history. We're going to forge our own history. The city is big enough to have two teams."
Rivers said there was no extra motivation to play in Staples Center, where the Lakers' championship banners and retired jerseys hang from the rafters, but that he looks forward to the teams' four games this season as the Clippers look to develop their own home-court advantage.
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"It's motivational to be playing against the Lakers in our arena," Rivers said. "There's a rivalry, a natural one, with us and them, but it stops there. We're not trying to win L.A. We're trying to win the NBA. If we win L.A. and don't [win a title in the] NBA, we haven't been very successful."
Last season, the Clippers completed their first four-game season series sweep of the Lakers en route to a franchise-best 56-win season and their first division title. In the playoffs, however, the Clippers were eliminated in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies.
"Winning games doesn't mean a lot," Rivers said. "We won 56 games last year and we were home in the first round. We want to win a lot. We want to win them all, but at the end of the day, we want to be ready for the playoffs.
"If we win the NBA, we'll get some of L.A. All the East Coast guys that moved to L.A., they'll cheer for us."