LOS ANGELES -- After Chris Paul was introduced Sunday before the Clippers played the Lakers, he walked over the scorer's table and smiled.
"At least I didn't get booed again," Paul said.
He was referring to going to Opening Day at Dodger Stadium and getting booed as if he were Barry Bonds.
"I expected it," Paul said. "I said they were going to boo the life out of me."
It makes no sense.
Paul is the best point guard the city has had since Magic Johnson. He has embraced the city since arriving here over three years ago and recently purchased Dodgers season tickets to watch his adopted baseball team and good friend Matt Kemp, whom he talks to on a daily basis. Over the past year, Kemp, Tommy Lasorda and Don Mattingly have attended Clippers' games as guests, with Lasorda even giving the team an in-game pep-talk last month.
Yet, Paul cannot go to a Dodgers game without being treated like an enemy because he plays for the Clippers, not the Lakers -- two teams that share the same city and the same arena but clearly not the same popularity.
There's no question which team has been the best in Los Angeles the past two years. On Sunday, the Clippers beat the Lakers 120-97, and have now won seven of the past eight meetings, including the past three by an average margin of 35.7 points.
While the Lakers have been preparing for the lottery since midseason, the Clippers have the third-best record in the league.
Los Angeles might always be a Lakers town but what do the Clippers have to do be more widely accepted by their home city entering the playoffs?
"I don't care to be honest," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
"That doesn't matter," center DeAndre Jordan added.
Being embraced by Los Angeles used to mean something to the Clippers when they played the Lakers. That was back when a win over their city rivals was the only thing the Clippers were really playing for.
"In my rookie year when we were 19-63, we were trying to beat the Lakers," Jordan said. "As the culture has changed with this organization, we're thinking about the bigger picture now. ... We won all four games against them last year and were out of the playoffs in the first round. We don't care about beating them guys."
Jordan simply laughed when asked about Paul getting booed at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day.
"They're just jealous that he's not with the Lakers," Jordan said. "We don't care. Our goal isn't for Lakers fans to like us. I'm glad that they hate us. That means we're doing something right."
Griffin had a similar reaction when asked about Paul's Opening Day experience.
"I wouldn't expect too many cheers if I went to a Dodgers game," Griffin said. "I haven't been to a Dodgers game in a while. I thought the city would have embraced him. It seems like everywhere we go people love Chris, so I don't know why he would get booed at a Dodgers game. That really doesn't make sense to me."
So why hasn't the city embraced Paul and the Clippers the way that they should?
"I don't know," Griffin said, smiling. "You have to ask the city."
Los Angeles is a fickle town when it comes to many things, but fans don't waver much when it comes to their allegiance to the Dodgers and the Lakers. They have been mainstays in the city for more than 50 years and have combined for 16 championships in Los Angeles.
As Rivers has said before, Los Angeles will always be a Lakers town, and the Clippers' goals are far greater than the city's affection.
"We're not trying to win L.A.," he said. "We're trying to win the NBA. If we win L.A. and don't [win a title in the] NBA, we haven't been very successful."
A few years ago, the Clippers would have celebrated after a blowout win over the Lakers, but it has become par for the course this season after the past three meetings. On Sunday, players left the locker room without much fanfare. The only thing written on the whiteboard was the time the team planned to meet for practice.
"It is a special game with them being right down the hallway," Griffin said. "But it doesn't really mean that much to us."