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T.J. SIMERS

Clippers could have looked up but settle for the bottom

They come back with the same depressing story line, including a druggie in their locker room just to remind fans the team will always settle for the dregs of everyone else's roster.

November 10, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

The Clippers apparently have so many rock heads on their team the organization has taken to putting up signs everywhere in Staples Center this season to remind them, "It's game time."

In yet another daring move, they also have this printed on the hallway wall outside their locker room: "We are what we repeatedly do, excelling, then, it is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle."

We already know they don't listen to Coach/GM Mike Dunleavy -- you think they're going to pay attention to a guy who might be a soccer coach for all they know?

A new season, and the Clippers come back with the same depressing story line, yahoo radio guy, lots of injuries and a druggie in their locker room just to remind Clippers' fans they will always settle for the bottom of everyone else's roster.

"You're a clown," Ricky Davis is telling me before Monday night's game and he's the druggie -- suspended last season for testing positive.

It takes a lot these days to get anyone to attend a Clippers game, and the last thing they need is a reminder of the very worst kind of players the NBA has to offer.

Why would you bring such a contaminant back with youngsters such as Eric Gordon, Al Thornton and Blake Griffin in the room? As Chris Kaman said before the game, the chemistry wasn't any good last year, so why not weed out, so to speak, the guys who let everyone down a year ago and got suspended?

Maybe if he has Manny Ramirez's talent, it's different, or maybe if he has Manny Ramirez's fan appeal, but who buys a ticket to watch Ricky Davis?

"And why is it that I always seem to have a problem with the drug guys in town, first Gary Matthews Jr., and now you?" I asked Davis.

He went silent like Matthews, and I'm beginning to wonder if that's one of those side effects that come when linked to drugs.

I asked Davis if he played very much, Thornton sitting next to him and a little surprised that I wouldn't know, which would mean watching a Clippers game.

The question seemed to baffle the druggie too, a Clippers' spokesman stepping in to say he does play, stats later revealing that Davis has played in two of the team's first seven games and has scored seven points.

Thanks for the memories.

No, you don't hear anyone around here talking about winning with good character guys.

The only reason the druggie is here is because Donald Sterling owes him $2.4 million -- but then money well-spent has never been Sterling's forte, agreeing recently to pay $2.725 million to settle a housing discrimination lawsuit.

Maybe the druggie is here to get along with the TV guys, Prime Ticket's Michael Eaves coming into the locker room and sounding almost giddy while referring to Davis as "Tricky Ricky."

Then he about leaped over Thornton to shake Tricky Ricky's hand. You never know when you might have to do a postgame interview, I guess, and talk to somebody who didn't play.

The Clippers have been so bad, they need to be better than just good. And I haven't even mentioned last year's raging disappointment, Baron Davis, a tubbo we know now after Dunleavy says he's come back this season 20 pounds lighter.

It's too bad the brilliant Ralph Lawler isn't enough. The thing is, these guys need to do everything right to sell themselves to L.A. and climb back onto the radar here, a miserable history and a 42-122 record the last two seasons a ton to overcome.

A player like the druggie, acting as locker room greeter, just reinforces the image the Clippers are losers -- who by the way are down by 14 at halftime to a team the Lakers beat by 16 the night before.

Dunleavy says the Clippers are going to be good this season once everyone is healthy. And now they are losing by 21 in the opening minutes of the third quarter.

Kaman appears more mature, consistent and willing to go to his strength, which is shooting the ball. Better really start shooting now, down by 23.

Gordon and Griffin remain the team's great hope for the future, and so lucky to sit and learn now from veterans such as Ricky Davis. Yeah, every time it seems as if things are looking up around here, they just seem to find what it takes to wreck it.

Down by 31 after three quarters, the hometown fans booing and Ricky Davis probably going to get the chance to play more, it was a good time to go home.

RAN INTO Mason & Ireland at L.A. Live -- had no idea they were still doing a radio show.

HAS ANYONE in recent memory here been treated more like a punching bag than UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft? OK, so Ricky Davis.

It's pretty obvious Coach Rick Neuheisel doesn't think much of Craft, a week ago making a case that freshman Richard Brehaut should get some playing time in relief of Kevin Prince. Norm Chow disagreed, expressing his confidence in Prince.

What about Craft? He throws a touchdown pass against Washington in relief of an injured Prince, directs the game-winning field goal drive and still has the Bruins in the hunt for a bowl bid.

Plaschke then spends an entire column making the case Prince is the best option. It's a wonder the kid keeps showing up for practice the way he's treated.

THE OTHER day Manny re-upped with the Dodgers because he had no other choice.

His agent, Scott Boras, tried to make the case that Ramirez was staying here because he's comfortable in L.A.

When you can't come clean on the obvious -- so much for credibility.

"If he went into the marketplace," Boras told The Times, "the real negative was that he would end up playing in a place he wasn't comfortable playing."

If Ramirez went into the marketplace, the real negative is he wouldn't get anywhere near the $20 million the Dodgers are going to have to pay him.

--

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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