Mike Brown, Dwight Howard downplay Lakers-Clippers rivalry

The buzz surrounding Los Angeles’ newest rivalry apparently hasn’t even entered into the Lakers’ practice facility.

Or so they say.

Lakers Coach Mike Brown professes he only pays attention to two L.A. teams, and none of them involve the Clippers.

“I watch us and Mater Dei,” Brown said.

He watches the Lakers well because that’s kind of his job being the team’s head coach. Brown watches Mater Dei because his son, Elijah, plays for the Monarchs. So does Nierra Fields, whose legal guardians are Brown and his wife, Carolyn.

That’s at least more progress than Lakers center Dwight Howard has made since joining the West Coast . He once allowed Nate Robinson to jump over him as a prop during the 2009 NBA Dunk Contest. So wouldn’t Howard want to watch Blake Griffin’s latest dunk?

“I don’t watch TV,” Howard said.

It might be a smart approach considering the Lakers’ 0-2 record. Howard couldn’t avoid the television monitors at the Lakers’ practice facility that featured ESPN. During morning shootaround, most of the commentary surrounded the Lakers. But still, the Lakers’ apparent indifference toward the Clippers represents a larger picture.

“I don’t have an issue with the Clippers,” Howard said. “I know it’s L.A. Thing. I’m trying to get used to it. I thought the rivalry was the Celtics. Which one is it? I like the guys on the Clippers. When we’re on the court, they’re the enemy just like any other team. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and play basketball.”

Howard has a point. The Lakers trail the Celtics in NBA championships, 17-16. Meanwhile, the Lakers haven’t lost a season series to the Clippers since 1993. Still, that didn’t prevent Howard from poking fun at the team across the hall.

“It seems like they practice lobs the whole practice,” Howard said. “Everyone is catching lobs. The preseason game we had against them, everyone was catching lobs. Even Green, one of the guys who don’t even dunk. He was catching lobs. I even saw the coach before the game they were throwing him lobs. That’s really lob city over there.”

I then suggested the Lakers could beat the Clippers in lobs considering Howard dunks plenty of times.

“We’re old now,” Howard said. “We can beat them in layup city. All of those lobs, they have young legs and everybody is dunking everything and jumping from the three-point line.”


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