Lakers' Matt Barnes says the Clippers' Blake Griffin 'flops' [Video]
At a recent event at Staples Center, Derek Fisher laughed off the notion that there is a rivalry between the 16-time NBA champions and the Clippers, who have never won a title.
"You can't win one more preseason game or one more regular season game through 15 games and call it a rivalry," Fisher said.
"There's too many of those up there," he added, while pointing to the Lakers championship banners hanging from the rafters at Staples Center.
That's not to say that there's not a rivalry between the players.
During the panel discussion, Lakers forward Matt Barnes called Clippers forward Blake Griffin a flopper.
"He's just an amazing athlete, can dunk, can do everything on the court -- he just flops and I don't understand; I don't get it," Barnes said.
Barnes was referring to an incident that occurred during a preseason game between the teams Dec. 21. Barnes, annoyed by Griffin's dunks and perceived showboating, shoved Griffin to the ground and was immediately dealt a flagrant foul. (See the video below.)
"It's a preseason game," Barnes said to reporters the day after the scuffle. "Yeah, they're catching lobs and dunking. But it's just a preseason game. Let's just play basketball. If you make a dunk, act like you've done it before. He's got hundreds of them. There's no need for the hurrah after every single dunk. It's unnecessary."
The bad blood intensified when the teams met Jan. 14 for their first regular season game. The Clippers and Lakers combined for five technical fouls -- four on the Lakers, one on the Clippers.
When asked if the Clippers are doing things verbally or physically to irritate the Lakers, Fisher didn't hesitate.
"Yeah," he said.
The Lakers and Clippers may not have a rivalry in terms of past history, but it seems as though the "R" word is slowly simmering and snaking around Staples Center, regardless of whether the players admit it, infusing the city of Los Angeles with potential for some great excitement when the teams meet again.