www.tidewaterreview.com/sports/college/la-sp-simers-clippers-20121209,0,5046406.column

tidewaterreview.com

Writing about the Clippers — and Mercy the Kitten

The Clippers are fun, and they're winning, but they don't yet grab attention like that other team in town. But we do have Kim Kardashian's cat.

T.J. Simers

December 9, 2012

Advertisement

Most people think I write just to get noticed.

I don't see another reason beyond getting paid, and that has to rankle some people — that I get paid to be me.

I know there's probably a higher calling, like informing the masses for the public good. That's fine, so long as the public is good about noticing who is informing them.

But beyond that, if you write it makes sense to get noticed or you won't be writing any more. Or worst, you might be assigned to cover horse racing or boxing.

The easiest way to get noticed, of course, is to begin every story with "Lakers. Lakers. Lakers."

Nothing gets noticed like the Lakers.

But we have others writing about the Lakers this weekend because they don't want to end up covering boxing or horse racing.

So that doesn't leave me with much, especially on a day when one of the top trending stories online is "Kardashian's cat dies."

Unless Donald Sterling is the one who killed the kitty, I don't like my chances of any Clippers story drawing more attention than the demise of Mercy the Kitten.

By the way, Mercy belonged to Kim, but she was allergic to cats so she gave her away. The little critter is now finding a permanent home wherever little kitties go when no longer purring.

The only thing that would make that story draw even more attention would be if Kobe or Dwight had a comment.

And I believe Dwight would.

That's why I'm going to Cleveland, New York, Washington and Philadelphia next week to write about the Lakers every day. I'm going to write down whatever they have to say because it has to be more interesting than anything Jim Mora might say.

I also called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's office to set up an interview with my old buddy Rog, because I was surprised to learn the NFL's top guy can't take the heat when thrust into the spotlight.

A league spokesman says Goodell is done with stories about himself after it was revealed in a Time magazine profile he was willing to rat out his high school buddies if he saw them drinking.

It's not like his high school buddies don't already know he's a rat. So what difference is it going to make if I point it out again?

The league spokesman also wanted it to be known Goodell did not pose recently for the Time cover photo that has him appearing so arrogant. He made it clear that was an old photo. Goodell apparently was arrogant much sooner than most realized.

My thanks to the league spokesman for pointing that out.

But I'll have to ask Kobe or Dwight, who know a thing or two about having stories written about them, what they think about an NFL commissioner who is now curled into a ball because he couldn't handle what someone wrote about him.

That won't help me now, though, Mercy's last gasp still fresh in everyone's mind and the Clippers' ho-hum game with the Suns going as everyone would have expected.

The Clippers' starters scored 61, the bench 56.

The usual suspects did the bulk of the scoring, so what's going to get noticed more online and in the newspapers? What's wrong with the Lakers, or what's good now about the Clippers?

I type DeAndre Jordan's name, knowing that last May 19 I wrote "too bad he's such a waste of space," and amen.

At the time I meant where he stood on the basketball court, but I worry now it will become a way to describe a Page 2 column about him.

Come on, can I get any love for DeAndre Jordan?

If I'm going to write about a Clipper on the day everyone wants to know what's wrong with the Lakers, I know it better be Chris Paul or Blake Griffin.

And they were stupendous against the Suns, and so was Kobe Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and Lamar Odom.

But I just love Jordan, as fun-loving as Odom, as poor a free-throw shooter as Griffin, as exciting as Bledsoe and nowhere near the scorer Crawford is.

If the Clippers have championship aspirations, which are essential in keeping Paul, then Jordan has to do more in the middle.

"I expect more rebounds," I told Jordan.

"So do I," he said.

"The key is patience," says Clippers assistant coach Marc Iavaroni. That goes to show you how hard I work to get noticed interviewing assistant Clippers coaches.

"The most important stride he's made is the amount of time he can stay focused," says Iavaroni. "This year because of guys like Paul, Chauncey [Billups] and Blake staying on him and pumping him up, he's done a better job."

No one ever credits Page 2.

Jordan went for eight points, six rebounds, two blocks and one assist against Phoenix — one assist possibly a career high. The numbers aren't electrifying unless witnessed in person.

A two-hand stuff at the rim to prevent a Phoenix dunk protected a one-point lead and brought everyone to their feet in Staples Center, the energized Clippers going on to outscore Phoenix 39-28 to end the game.

On top of that, who else dances to music no one else hears while Griffin is shooting a pair of free throws? Or pulls the jersey out of Michael Beasley's pants and then tells the referee to make sure Beasley tucks in his jersey?

"I can put the Kobe face on too," Jordan says. "But I have nice teeth and a nice smile and I like to show them off."

That's one of the reasons why the Clippers are so much fun, because they know how to have fun. And win.

The Lakers don't, but that's a story for next week.

t.j.simers@latimes.com