Lakers Coach Byron Scott says rivalries affected by friendships

Lakers Coach Byron Scott says old-school 'no fraternizing with the enemy' rule was a good thing

Byron Scott didn't eat with any Boston Celtics. No chance.

"I'm still real old school," the Lakers coach said Friday. "I don't have breakfast with Danny [Ainge] and all those guys."

He didn't tease Kobe Bryant about grabbing an early meal Thursday with Boston guard Rajon Rondo. But Scott had plenty of thoughts on the general concept, agreeing that friendships across the league have stunted day-to-day competitiveness.

"Definitely. How could it not?" he said. "You do have to have, I think, a certain dislike for your opponent to go out there and try to kill him and beat him. If you're friends with the guy, that's hard to develop that on the court."

Scott was an all-business member of the "Showtime" teams. There were plenty of old Celtics at TD Garden for the Lakers' 113-96 loss Friday to Boston. Whatever.

"Guys now, I had a player in New Orleans, the guy spent the night at his [opponent's] house, they went to breakfast and then you've got to play against this guy?" Scott said incredulously. "That's unheard of for me, but it's a new day and age."

The counterargument: Magic Johnson and Larry Bird eventually became friends, no?

"That was pretty much way toward the end of their career," Scott said. "And that just happened because they did a commercial together and started learning a little bit about each other."

Even though the Lakers and Celtics each entered Friday's game with a paltry five victories, pregame media talk of their rivalry was surprisingly high.

Scott said he would talk to the team before the game, bringing players up to speed on the importance of Lakers-Celtics.

"It is a little sad," Scott said. "A lot of these guys don't know the history of the NBA and they don't know about this rivalry. A lot of these young guys, this new generation, they don't necessarily care about what got them to this point and the people that pioneered this league."

Scott was somewhere between irritated and melancholy as he spoke, bringing up the iron-fisted regime of his former coach, Pat Riley.

"Riles, as crazy as he was at times, his 'No fraternizing with the enemy' [rule], I thought, was probably one of the best things we could ever do," he said. "We looked at ourselves as our family and everybody that was in that outer circle was our enemy."

Nothing, though, stopped Ainge, now a Celtics executive, from interrupting Scott's postgame conference and facetiously inviting him to breakfast. It was a lighter moment in an otherwise down day for the Lakers.

Bryant catching Jordan

Bryant claims he doesn't care about soon passing Michael Jordan for third on the all-time NBA scoring list, even though some of his contemporaries say it means a lot to him.

"I only think about it when I'm asked about it," Bryant said. "It's something that's going to come eventually."

Bryant, now 76 points behind Jordan, disagreed with former coach Phil Jackson, who mentioned in the past Bryant's single-minded desire to top Jordan in championships and other achievements.

"People who say that don't really understand me," Bryant said. "It's a myth. Phil likes to say things a lot of times to create good content and create good stories. But the reality is I've always taken pride in the building of my [career]. If I really was hell-bent on passing records, I would have went to college and came to the pros and been ready to play....and not sat on the [Lakers'] bench for three years."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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