Yes, it's Lakers vs. Clippers but it's still an exhibition

It's only an exhibition game, right?

Or is it?

Matt Barnes understands why fans are anticipating more than just your typical preseason game when the Clippers and Lakers play Wednesday night at Staples Center, in a Clippers designated home game.

"Knowing what we put together and knowing what kind of team they put together, it's the kind of showdown they are going to see this year," Barnes, a Clippers reserve forward and former Laker, said Tuesday. "Tomorrow is just a small part of it."

In Blake Griffin's view, the Clippers can't worry about controlling fans' expectations. His team is 3-3 in the preseason and is still trying to make strides.

The Lakers are 0-6 and still are trying to incorporate center Dwight Howard into the starting lineup along with Steve Nash. Kobe Bryant (strained right foot) is not expected to play Wednesday; neither is Howard, who played in his first Lakers exhibition game Sunday but was limited in practice Tuesday.

"We know, they know what preseason games are about," Griffin said. "A lot of the best teams' preseason records, they're not great. It's more about correcting the things you need to work on."

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said he might rest some of his starters Wednesday.

"I probably will," Del Negro said. "I just don't know who and how we're going to do it yet."

No matter who plays, Barnes expects some "friendly" trash-talking. He played for the Lakers the last two seasons.

"There's always chatter," he said. "It's all in the spirit of the game. Everybody from both sides are very competitive and everybody knows what's at stake for this season."

Barnes was asked about the rivalry.

"It's kind of back and forth," he said. "For the majority of time, the Lakers have dominated the series. So I think it's more of a battle of L.A. now."

Injury update

Chauncey Billups, still recovering from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles' tendon, practiced Tuesday, but is not expected to play soon. Lamar Odom (bone bruise in left knee) and Grant Hill (bone bruise in right knee) didn't practice Tuesday, and neither is expected to play Wednesday.

"I expect Lamar to be back sooner than Grant," Del Negro said. "It's day-to-day for those guys. . . . Does it set us back? Yeah, because they're not out there. But I also have to look at the big picture."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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