LOS ANGELES -- This is the way you want Giants vs. Dodgers to be: bitter, loud, dramatic, envious and with undeniable national implications.

The Dodgers want what the Giants have, and they want it so desperately that they're willing to do almost anything to get it.

They're putting a target on the Giants' backs and taking aim, aren't they?

"You'd have to ask them," said Giants catcher Buster Posey after the Dodgers' 4-0 season-opening victory at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

"But with the success we've had the past few years, I'm sure that people are excited to play us."

There's nothing wrong with that, or with stating and showing it in clear terms, which is what happened here in the season opener.

Before the game, the Dodgers showcased new part-owner Magic Johnson, summoned Sandy Koufax, and highlighted a slew of stadium improvements.

Then they put ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

It was one game, but it was against the defending champion Giants, to start a new season with a splashy new Dodgers ownership group that has spent wildly to improve the roster and promises to spend much more.

The Dodgers are always motivated to play the Giants, and vice versa, but Monday, there was a different kind of spark in the Southland.

They want what the Giants have. They're not hiding it at all.

So the Dodgers and their fans roared when Kershaw broke up a scoreless tie with a long home run and screamed when he finished off his shutout.


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Then they all guffawed when Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp dumped a bucket of ice water onto Kershaw's head afterward.

Kershaw the Giant Killer, and that takes on enormous meaning after the Giants won two of the last three World Series titles.

"He's been tough on us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said dryly of Kershaw's dominant performance. "We've seen a lot of these games."

The Dodgers have spent and spent, and all we really know is that when Kershaw is pitching they're as good as anybody; but that's nothing new.

The test of the season is to get great performances from all other parts of the roster, just as the Giants did in 2010 and last season.

I think the Giants are still better than the Dodgers overall; we'll see how that works out over 162 games, not just one, and it starts again Tuesday with Madison Bumgarner on the mound.

Which brings us full circle: If the Dodgers want to win a championship, they know they almost certainly have to knock down the Giants to do it.

"They might be," Giants starter Matt Cain said when I asked if the Giants feel as though the Dodgers are aiming for them. "But we know they made some big moves last year and in the offseason. So we're looking at those guys as well.

"But we can't sit there and focus on each other the whole entire time."

That's definitely true, and that's also the unique situation the Giants face.

This is a testament to how much this franchise has achieved: They're not a one-title fluke, they're the franchise everybody wants to be.

The best thing the Giants can do is play exactly as they did in 2010 and 2012: Win as many games as possible and let the other teams deal with their own hopes and goals.

"I think it's a natural thing to expect teams to target you because you won the world championship, but the reality of it is I think that's just a bunch of words," reliever Jeremy Affeldt said.

"I think you want to win every game, whoever you're playing. Do we have a target on our back? I don't know. I just look at it as every team wants to beat you."

On Monday, the Dodgers beat the Giants, then threw a mini-version of a playoff-clinching party.

Every game between these two teams might feel a little like this, and that's a good thing -- for the rivalry, for both teams, and for everybody watching.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.