Sunday NBA Insider: The changing bright lights of L.A.

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 9, 2013 - 5:21 PM

Wolves visit L.A. to face the Kobe-less Lakers and the new-look Clippers.

hide

For coach Doc Rivers, with Chris Paul, left, and Darren Collison, it’s going to be about the mind-set.

Photo: Rich Pedroncelli •Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Timberwolves play rare back-to-back games in Los Angeles this weekend, two nights in the same Staples Center arena but yet so different.

For once, the Wolves won’t see the Lakers’ 16 championship banners hanging high above both nights.

New Clippers coach Doc Rivers has made sure of that, ordering them covered with portraits of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, etc., on days his team plays there.

Lakers guard Nick Young, among others, was offended. Others who were born there and know L.A. — Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Reggie Miller, Wolves star Kevin Love — applaud Rivers’ intent.

“I think it’s great, it’s Doc being Doc,” Love said. “It’s good to establish a new identity for that team. They’ve been playing extremely hard and they’re only going to get better.”

Love was born in Santa Monica, played his one collegiate season at UCLA, and even though he grew up in Portland, Ore., he still considers himself an Angeleno.

In his 25 years, he has known you’re a Lakers fan, a Dodgers fan or maybe even a Kings fan if you’re from Los Angeles. But until recently, almost never a Clippers fan.

But even with Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant sidelined to start the season, will it ever really be a Clippers town?

“If they win,” Love said. “How many titles do the Lakers have? I don’t see it ever really being a Clipper town, just because of the tradition and the past. But with Doc there and a new identity and the players they have, it sure seems to be going that way. It’s tough. They’re definitely on an uphill battle.”

The Clippers won a franchise-record 17 consecutive games last December, yet lost to Memphis in a six-game, first-round playoff series last spring.

Both the Lakers and the Clippers started this season 3-3, the Lakers even without Bryant winning decisively on opening night in a “home” game at Staples.

Still, the Clippers have the kind of showy, if not exactly Showtime, vibe this season that the Lakers seemingly have had forever. They’ve traded for their title-winning coach and acquired shooters J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, but the question is can they win big with Griffin and Jordan on the floor at game’s end.

“For us to be talking about the Clippers as if they are the Lakers in the second coming is astonishing,” Miller said before the season started. “Right now, it is Clipper Nation in Los Angeles. For them to take the next step, they have to compete for a championship. The Lakers pride themselves on championships. It’s all about those banners. That’s what separates the two. It’s about the mind-set.

“Doc Rivers is bringing that championship mind-set to a team that has underachieved for the last 20 or 30 years. We’ll see when the bright lights are on and you have to go out and beat the Spurs, Thunder and Warriors on a nightly basis. Let’s see if this team can bring it, like we know the Lakers have.”

The Lakers won five championships from 1949 to 1954, when they played in Minneapolis. Their other 11 came in Los Angeles, the most recent in 2010. That’s a lot of fabric that needs covering on Clippers’ game nights now.

“To own L.A., it’s going to take more than just one brilliant year,” said former NBA coach Doug Collins, an ESPN commentator. “I don’t think there are any questions right now that the Clippers are the superior team. But their report card is coming in April, May and June.”

NBA short takes

Will the real K-Mart please stand up?

  • related content

  • NBA short takes

    Saturday November 9, 2013

    Will the real K-Mart please stand up?New York’s Kenyon Martin was nicknamed that long before a teammate started calling Timberwolves...

  • Wolves week ahead

    Saturday November 9, 2013

    THE wolves’ WEEK AHEADSunday: at L.A. Lakers, 8:30 p.m. (FSN)Monday: at L.A. Clippers, 9:30 p.m. (FSN)Wednesday: vs. Cleveland, 7 p.m....

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 4
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 4
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 9 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 5
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 8 FINAL
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 5
Atlanta 2 Top 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Houston 1 Top 6th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Arizona 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Washington 2
LA Angels 1 Top 5th Inning
Boston 3
Detroit 1 Top 7th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Cincinnati 0 Bottom 5th Inning
St. Louis 1
San Francisco 4 Bottom 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Baltimore 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Chicago WSox 2
Cleveland 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Minnesota 0
Kansas City 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Colorado 0
San Diego - E. Stults 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Pittsburgh 8/21/14 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Los Angeles 8:00 PM
Colorado
San Jose 9:00 PM
Seattle
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you like the Kevin Love trade?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close