LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers wanted to start the season with a win, to set the tone for the road they were about to travel.
Sure, there were going to be ups and downs. They expected that.
They didn't, however, expect the season to start with a thud.
The Lakers hustled and fought their way to a 116-103 victory over a team with title aspirations.
And when things got tough in the fourth quarter, things fell apart in a blink, with the Clippers giving up 41 points in the quarter -- all to Lakers reserves.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 19 points despite shooting 3 of 10 from the free-throw line. DeAndre Jordan had 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in the loss.
Tuesday's disappointment, though, doesn't change the long-term outlook.
Before the Clippers even played a game this season, Coach Doc Rivers spoke to his team about the way they'd celebrate a championship.
While coaching the Celtics, Rivers took Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen on the parade route used by the Red Sox and Patriots the summer before their 2008 title.
When he arrived in Los Angeles, the plan crossed his mind again, but it never materialized.
"I didn't want to go on the Lakers' parade route," he said.
The Clippers aren't craving the Lakers' history because they know they'll never travel down the streets that led the Lakers to 16 championships.
Instead, they'll go their own way.
"The little-known fact, which I've learned due to my research, is here in L.A., and every city now, you have to pay for your own parade. And, you can actually create your own route, which I think makes it more interesting," Rivers said.
While it might be more interesting to go your own way, the Clippers have no choice. There's no tradition of winning in the franchise's history to follow.
"There's not. It's OK. You can say it," Rivers said. "It doesn't hurt us. It's the truth, and we've decided not to run from the truth."
The lack of tradition means a lack of resources for Rivers, but the challenge provides greater rewards.
"That's why we want to try to forge ahead, to have some decorations. It's different. You don't have the Bill Russells to call and have talk to the team. You don't have that history. We have to forge on," he said. "...That makes it more difficult, but if you can succeed, the feeling of success will be greater."
Rivers has been honest with his team about this, and that honesty could allow for disappointment. That's part of the deal.
"When you want something that's great, there are no guarantees. You open your heart up to your team; your team opens up to you. And, you take the risk of getting your heart broken," Rivers said. "I've had mine broken mine times, and it's damn worth it. It's absolutely worth it."
On nights like Tuesday, there's heartbreak. Thursday in the home opener, who knows?
"It's a hell of a journey," Rivers said.
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