Because Doc Rivers had played one season for the Clippers he pretty much knew where he wanted to live when he moved to Los Angeles to become their coach and senior vice president of basketball operations. He didn't know how odd the whole experience would feel as he moved things around his new condo Thursday.

"It's strange to be anywhere other than Boston right now honestly" he said. "I was in one place for nine years and I didn't have any plans of not being in that place. It kind of came so quickly. Usually you plan yourself. You kind of say 'This is my last year here then I'm going to go somewhere else.' "

He paused then laughed. "So in that way it's different" said Rivers who didn't want to be part of the Celtics' rebuild and led an exodus that continued with Kevin Garnett Paul Pierce and Jason Terry being traded from Boston to the Brooklyn Nets. "But the excitement and the energy that I have because it's something new that's been great. In retrospect it's probably what I needed."

As much as he needs fresh scenery the Clippers will need his strategizing and motivational skills to meet the high expectations they will face this season.

With Blake Griffin in his prime and Chris Paul secured to a five-year $107.3-million extension winning a playoff round or two won't be enough for this team. Rivers must make the players' considerable individual talents add up to a cohesive whole polish their many assets and solidify their defense before they can be a championship contender in a rugged conference.

"The expectations are great. I don't want us to shrink from that at all. I don't want us to run from that" he said. "But what we've got to get our guys to understand is expectations are one thing. Realization is a whole different thing and just because you're expected to do anything doesn't mean you've arrived.

"We have not arrived. We didn't win a playoff series last year. So we have a lot of work to do as a group. We should expect to do that work. We have to expect that it's going to be much harder and we have to embrace it and do it."

For most of the summer since prolonged talks brought him to the Clippers in late June in exchange for a first-round draft pick Rivers has traveled from his Orlando home to spend four days a week in Los Angeles. He has analyzed game films — an ongoing task — and talked to players while they have worked out at the Clippers' Playa Vista facility.