The calls between Cleveland Coach Tyronn Lue and Clippers Coach Doc Rivers have become more common now, the two exchanging ideas, encouraging the other and just simply checking on the other's well-being.
Lue had been on Rivers' staff as an assistant coach for five seasons, first in Boston and then in Los Angeles with the Clippers.
So it was natural for him to call his mentor.
"We do talk a lot," Rivers said after Friday night's game. "I'm glad he's in the East so we can talk all the time. We've texted more than anything back and forth. I'm just very proud of him."
Lue will lead his Cavaliers into Staples Center on Sunday to face Rivers' Clippers.
The two friends will embrace and then become competitors.
"Him and Jerry West, that's who I lean on the most to talk to when I need advice, need help in certain situations," Lue said before Cleveland's practice Saturday on the campus of UCLA. "They always give me important advice."
Rivers was quick to point out that just because he's been a head coach longer doesn't mean he is unwilling to seek knowledge from Lue.
"I pick his [brain] too," Rivers said. "It's not like it's a one-way street just because he's younger."
Lue has to coach the strong personalities of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Lue's time around Rivers in Boston when the Celtics had Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Lue's moments with Rivers in L.A. with Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin have been beneficial to his growth as a coach.
"Just being around him for five years and coaching with Doc for five years, what a great guy to start under," Lue said. "He taught me a lot. And just having the chance to be the bad guy in the locker room and kind of feel out different players, how to respond to different things. He just kind of bounces things off me and see how I feel about it and how I would handle it."
Cavaliers say Clippers dangerous
Though Griffin has been out since Dec. 26 because of a quad injury and broken right hand, the Clippers really haven't fallen off much without their All-Star forward.
The Cavaliers have noticed.
"Chris Paul came out and said in order for them to win a championship, they need Blake," James said. "But they've played great ball without him and they are a dangerous team. So, we're going to prepare as if he was in the lineup tomorrow."
CLIPPERS NEXT UP
When: 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: Channel 7; Radio: 980, 1330.
Records: Clippers 42-22; Cavaliers 46-18.
Record vs. Cavaliers: 0-1.
Update: The Clippers are looking to break a three-game losing streak against the Cavaliers. Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving has averaged 25.8 points on 53.3% shooting in his last four games. Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who missed Friday night's game against the Lakers because of knee soreness, practiced Saturday and is expected to play.
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter: @BA_Turner