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Lakers executive: ‘So-called rivals’ spent to win media cycles, we focused on title

Former Clippers coach Doc Rivers, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 24: (L-R) Head coach Doc Rivers, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and owner Steve Ballmer of the Los Angeles Clippers attend the Paul George and Kawhi Leonard introductory press conference at Green Meadows Recreation Center on July 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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With the Lakers in hot pursuit, the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers held quite the celebratory press conference to introduce Leonard and Paul George. Clippers guard Patrick Beverley reportedly gloated directly to LeBron James about the Clippers’ new stars, and Beverley publicly declared the Clippers the “best team in L.A. for sure.” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer bought one arena just so he could build a new arena nearby – all to get out of the Lakers’ shadow at Staples Center.

In the end, the Clippers fell short of the conference finals for the 50th straight year.

The Lakers won their record-tying 17th title.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Said one senior Lakers executive: “While some of our so-called rivals spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars trying to win media cycles, we kept our heads down and focused on basketball -- because the only thing we’ve ever cared about winning is championships.”

The Lakers bested the Clippers and everyone else. The Lakers absolutely deserve a victory lap.

But to take this shot anonymously is rather weak.

However, that speaks to the both-sides-ought-to-look-in-the-mirror aspect of this (so-called?) rivalry.