LOS ANGELES – With the Los Angeles Clippers well on their way to routing the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, Warriors center Jermaine O'Neal and Clippers coach Doc Rivers began jawing at each other. Rivers had said something to an official, O'Neal didn't like whatever that something was and barked at Rivers. Rivers barked back, and within a few moments player and coach were both getting hit with technicals.
The incident – which came midway through the second quarter of the Clippers' 138-98 victory – was merely the latest chapter in what has fast become one of the NBA's most heated rivalries. Even in a 40-point blowout, it was clear the two teams don't care much for each other. And with the series now even at a game apiece and shifting to Oakland for Thursday's Game 3, the tension is as thick as ever.
"It's very intense right now," O'Neal said. "Everyone wants to win. Everybody is looking for that blood. This league is about trying to smell what the weakness is. I don't care if it's the scorekeeper – there are going to be scenarios where you are trying to find an edge and keep yourself going."
The Warriors were down 52-33 with 4:48 left in the second quarter when O'Neal was called for a foul on Clippers center DeAndre Jordan near the Clippers' bench. After Rivers had words with the referee about the foul, he and O'Neal began jawing.
"I kept telling him I loved him," Rivers joked. "I don't know what he was saying. It wasn't anything bad. Jermaine, I know him, he was talking and I told our guys just keep playing."
Said O'Neal: "Things were said and we moved on."
"We share a birthday," said Rivers, who coached O'Neal for a couple seasons in Boston. "Two Libras. Two stubborn fools."
As it turned out, that was about the most fight the Warriors showed all night. After losing the series' opener on Saturday, the Clippers quickly put Game 2 away behind 35 points from Blake Griffin. The bad blood between the teams, however, was nothing new.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson called a timeout during a blowout loss to the Clippers last season while staring at the opposing bench. Unlike the usual custom for NBA teams, the Clippers didn't share chapel with the Warriors during a Halloween game this season. In that same game, Jackson and Griffin bumped into each other on the sideline, and Jordan and Andrew Bogut had a shoving match.
READ MORE: Yahoo! Sports