The Clippers have preached winning a championship ever since Doc Rivers arrived.
Expectations have risen with that mantra.
"Whatever you do here is never going to be good enough," Matt Barnes said. "It’s championship or bust. Until you get that championship, nobody is good enough. You definitely hear it.
"I use it as motivation. I use it as motivation to play harder. I’ve been around for 13 years. Why stop now?"
The expectation bar used to be woefully low for the Clippers, who play in a city that pays attention only to success. Barnes knows the landscape well since he played at UCLA and has had a stint with the Lakers and now two with the Clippers.
"It’s come a long way. When I first came here in 2003, we were one of the worst teams and really just the laughing stock. We’ve come a long way to say championship and the clippers in the same word, but we still have a long way to go."
The Clippers (28-14) are in sixth in the Western Conference but that goal hasn’t changed, even though they’re games behind Golden State.
They’ve had their highs — a 109-104 road win at Portland Jan. 14 was perhaps their best victory of the season – and lows, such as that loss to Utah on the road and a barely-there over the Lakers.
"When you’re in one of the biggest media markets and you have a good team and you’re predicted to do well, if you struggle at any point they’re going to come after you," Barnes said. "Even when you’re playing well you’re not winning by enough.
"It’s something I’m comfortable with. I’ve played in L.A. a long time through college and pros. I tell the guys just to be ready. It’s different out here. You take the good with the bad. You focus on your job."