T.J. SIMERS

Clippers are still playing second fiddle to Lakers in L.A.

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Tayshaun Prince, Caron Butler, Marc Gasol

Clippers forward Caron Butler collides with Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) while trying to defend forward Tayshaun dribbles in the first half Saturday night. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 20, 2013)

The only question remaining is do the Clippers have what it takes to get noticed?

They beat the Grizzlies in Memphis a year ago, so no big whoop if they do it again. That's why the immediate interest in San Antonio.

The Times sent the first string there to write about the Lakers because the Lakers showed so much promise in placing seventh rather than eighth.

But that left the second string here to cover a 7:30 p.m. Clippers game with a 9 p.m. deadline. No problem. I just approached it like Jamie McCourt did her divorce settlement with Frank.

I picked a reasonable number, the Clippers winning, 91-84, and figured if I was really off the mark I'd just come back later, adjust and throw myself on the mercy of the court.

I also checked with Del Negro before the game, and asked if I could write Jamal Crawford was the star of Game 1.

“Absolutely,” said Del Negro, and so I'm sure by now the Clippers lead the series, 1-0.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Memphis stinks. Our columnist was too kind, the Clippers winning, 112-91, with his favorite player, Paul, dominating the game.)

The Clippers still have much more to do. The oddsmakers have made them 13-2 choices to represent the West in the NBA Finals, while the Lakers are 25-1.

And yet the Lakers continue to get 100 times as much attention as the Clippers because they think San Antonio is vulnerable. Ha!

I understand the Lakers' fascination; they have 412 more playoff wins than the Clippers have played playoff games.

But that's history and most of us slept through that class.

If the Clippers want to overcome being ignored, it's on them right now. They beat Memphis last season, then were swept by San Antonio.

This time when they beat Memphis, they will go to Oklahoma City. What a great opportunity to shock the world and get everyone talking about them.

Maybe those are the T-shirts they should have been passing out: Time to Shock the World!

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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