Both are adjusting; Rivers to life in the Western Conference, while Stevens is still getting his feet wet, 30-plus games into his NBA coaching career.
Rivers is coping with the loss of his star point guard Chris Paul for a month or so while Stevens simply is coping with losing -- something of which he experienced very little of during his six-year stint as the head coach at Butler University.
In an insightful Q&A session with both coaches, I discussed a variety of topics leading up to their meeting at the Staples Center.
Q: Doc, how do you view the huge disparity between the Eastern and Western Conferences right now?
Rivers: "In the West right now, every road game is a dogfight. In the long run, it'll make it all better for the playoffs. We'll have been in hard road games every night. Playoff games won't be quite as difficult, and that's the silver lining. The East is the East. One thing people forget is that key teams out there are dealing with injuries. The New York Knicks haven't had their full team all year, the same can be said about the Brooklyn Nets. The bottom of the East has struggled, and people are talking about a new playoff format. But I'm not one of those alarmists who thinks we need to change the playoff format."
Q: Brad, what about the disparity between the NBA and the college game?