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THE INSIDE TRACK | T.J. SIMERS

These Clippers Just Might Have Last Laugh One Day

November 03, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

Let's get the rim shots out of the way.

How appropriate that the Clippers would play their first home game on All Souls Day, otherwise known as the day of the dead.

Ba-da-boom.

During Coach Alvin Gentry's pregame meeting with the media, someone leaned against the wall switch, setting a Clipper record for turning the lights out on a new coach--one game into his tenure.

Ba-da-boom.

How did you know it was the office of the Clippers' head coach? There was nothing hanging on the walls, and anticipating dark days ahead, there was a bottle of Visine and two bottles of wine on the desk.

Ba-da-boom.

*

AND THEN THE GAME started, and you know what, these guys just might get the last laugh if they can hang together for three or four years and fine-tune the athletic show they put on during stretches Thursday night.

I know, I know--they are still the Clippers, but the kids, Darius Miles and Keyon Dooling, just might be worth the cheaper-than-Lakers' price of admission on occasion, and Lamar Odom has the look of a future NBA all-star.

And while it might be too soon--after two games--to extend Gentry's contract, the guy has already shown the ability to rebound from the nastiest ba-da-boom you can throw at him, which bodes very well for someone who is going to have to have the patience to hang in there with developing kids.

Now having said all that--the Lakers will still probably win more playoff games than the Clippers win regular-season games. Ba-da-boom indeed.

*

YOU MAY HAVE missed it, but Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia walked off the course in a pro-am after his amateur partner, who had a 13 handicap, raised heck with Garcia for giving him the wrong yardage on a shot.

Newspaper accounts of the incident did not provide the identity of Garcia's belligerent partner, but Garcia said, "He started threatening me. He said he was going to hit me."

Just curious, but does anyone know where Kevin Brown is these days?

*

DO YOU THINK Anaheim's ruling intimidator, GM Pierre Gauthier, is standing guard outside the Arrowhead Anaheim Pond and allowing only unquestioning Duck fans into the building? That would explain the low turnout for the team's games.

*

IT WAS VERY interesting to watch Coach Phil Jackson at work after the Lakers' first loss. After Jackson criticized Kobe Bryant, and suggested that Isaiah Rider will be given the Dennis Rodman treatment by referees and will have the "dunce hat on for awhile," Channel 2 sportscaster Jim Hill asked if these are the kind of tough games fans should expect because of the Lakers' championship status.

Jackson looked right at Hill, and maybe he lost his train of thought when he realized someone in the media can match him expensive suit for expensive suit. He responded, however, as if he had no idea what Hill had asked, and instead was talking to someone doing a biography on Shaquille O'Neal.

"Shaq goes six for 18. You miss 12 free throws, it's going to hurt your team," Jackson said. "It's like a turnover. . . . If he makes them, it makes it an entirely different ballgame. He knows, and I know, that's his responsibility."

He wouldn't use the press to send Shaq a message--would he?

We'll just have to wait until Hill asks another question.

*

WE HAVE AN EAGLE fan working in our department, so we know firsthand what rooting for that team can do to someone, which is why you should be concerned for your peace of mind, your health and the welfare of those near and dear.

The Eagles have given the city of Philadelphia a Nov. 30 deadline to contribute $65 million for a stadium site and $124 million upfront for the maintenance of a new stadium for the next 30 years, or it will be shopping for a new home in another city. Wonder where that would be.

"You're probably thinking there's no way the city or the NFL would let [Eagle owner Jeff] Lurie take the Eagles out of Philadelphia," respected Philadelphia Daily News football writer Paul Domowitch wrote this week. "Five years ago the people of Cleveland thought the same thing about the Browns."

Lurie, who did business in L.A. before buying the Eagles, has made it no secret among other influential NFL owners and officials, that he could be successful in L.A. if given the football opportunity.

Joe Banner, the Eagles' chief operating officer, told the Daily News, "We've got a real deadline here, and if it's not met, stuff's going to happen. Not maybe. Stuff's going to happen. There isn't going to be another warning."

If that doesn't raise the hair on the back of your neck, as a public service The Times will send the Eagles' fan who works in our office to your house, and that'll shake you up.

*

NO OFFENSE TO Carson Palmer or Cory Paus, but Vancouver's Mike Bibby is the best passer I've seen in the last few months.

*

TODAY'S LAST WORD comes from a film clip seen on ESPN featuring a very serious Charger quarterback Jim Harbaugh going at it with San Diego Union-Tribune beat reporter Jim Trotter, shown wearing a San Francisco 49ers' sweatshirt.

"I don't answer any questions from anybody wearing the enemy's jersey," said Harbaugh, while refusing to answer Trotter's questions.

I would think anyone wearing a Charger uniform would say: "I've seen the enemy and he is us."

*

T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail address:t.j.simers@latimes.com.

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