Lakers forward Pau Gasol, left, fouls Clippers center DeAndre Jordan during… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
Quickly and decisively, the Clippers point out that there isn't a rivalry between them and the Lakers.
"Honestly, I don't think it is one," center DeAndre Jordan said. "But I'm not worried about any other team. I don't care about them. I respect them as a team and as players. Once we step in between that line, I could care less about any accomplishments they have."
And just as quickly and decisively, the Clippers maintain that they plan to stand their ground when they meet the Lakers on Wednesday night in the Clippers' designated home game at Staples Center.
"We're not going to back down to anybody," Jordan said. "We're going to stand up to the challenge. It's going to be a physical game. It's going to be some talking in the game. We're not going to back down to anybody, whether it's the worst team in the league or the best team in the league. That's how we are going to get better."
This time, there is more at stake for the Clippers and the Lakers than just bragging rights in Los Angeles.
Both teams are fighting for the top spot in the Pacific Division, and the winner of the final regular-season game between the them will hold the tiebreaker in the series because the teams have split the first two games.
The outcome could help determine the division champion and playoff seeding in the West.
The Clippers last won the season series against the Lakers in 1992-93.
The Clippers, who did not practice Tuesday, have won six games in a row.
"It's another big game for us," Chris Paul said. "We've got some momentum going. It's one of those games that we want to win."
But even if the Clippers believe it's not a rivalry, they have to admit things have gottentesty this season when they played the Lakers.
There were 11 technical fouls in the first two games, plus one ejection and plenty of trash talking.
In the first game, the Lakers' Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, Coach Mike Brown and rookie Darius Morris got technicals, as did Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
In the second game, technical fouls were issued to the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Josh McRoberts, who got two and was ejected. The Clippers' Chauncey Billups and Reggie Evans also received technicals.
"We don't make too much of it," Paul said. "First of all, it's been so long ago that we played them. We're two totally different teams. I don't even remember that last game too much. But it's obviously a big game" Wednesday.
And what about Gasol rubbing Paul on the head in the second game, causing the Clippers All-Star guard to push Gasol back?
"I don't even remember that, until you bring it up," Paul claimed.
So is this a rivalry?
"It's not really a rivalry," Griffin said. "It's a game between two teams that play in the same city, play in the same building. It's just another game."