Lakers

For Byron Scott, Celtics are still the Lakers' biggest rival team

Lakers coach played during the 1980s, when rivalry with the Celtics was most intense

Byron Scott still can't let go of his hatred of the Boston Celtics.

Scott is coach of the Lakers now, and his team met the Celtics on Sunday night at Staples Center, a game he especially wanted to win because of the intense and hate-filled rivalry the two teams had during the 1980s, when Scott played for the Lakers.

Asked whether he could coach the Celtics if he ever got a call from Boston President Danny Ainge about a job opening there, Scott said:

"Probably not. Seriously. Probably not — coach or play for them."

Scott played on the Lakers' team that beat the Celtics in 1985 and '87 for the NBA title.

Ainge was on those Boston teams, too, leading Scott to say this Lakers-Celtics thing is "probably more of a rivalry with Danny and me" than the current players on the two teams.

The Lakers and Celtics last met in the 2010 NBA Finals, which Los Angeles won to earn its 16th NBA championship, one shy of the league record held by the Celtics.

The Lakers and Celtics are both struggling now, neither of them close to being a championship contender.

"I think the NBA as well probably would love to see both of these franchises get back to where they used to be," Scott said. "It was a great rivalry. I don't think those guys in [the Lakers'] locker room and probably the guys in Boston's locker room understand how great of a rivalry it was.

"I still look at it as a team we would love to beat, probably more than any other team in the league, just because of the rivalry we had with them in the '80s."

Ellington improving

Since Scott coached Lakers guard Wayne Ellington during the 2012-13 season in Cleveland, Ellington has made strides in his game.

Ellington, who started his 21st game with the Lakers on Sunday night, averaged 13 points on 42.4% shooting in his first 20 games.

"Wayne was basically the last few years in this league thought of as just a catch-and-shoot guy," Scott said. "So he's worked extremely hard on being able to put the ball on the floor to create his own shot, and I think he can continue to get better at that."

Ellington, in his sixth season in the NBA, will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Scott was asked whether the Lakers want Ellington back.

"I think we're going to evaluate all our guys," Scott said. "He's one of many."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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