T.J. SIMERS

Clippers found lacking again

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No wonder the billboards outside town here read: "Danger: Enter at your own risk.''

Or, as one fan tweeted on behalf of the local welcome wagon: "I hope you and your whole family die in a house fire.''

They sure do take things seriously here, the mayor of Memphis, A C Wharton, weighing in. "We're not going to focus on some guy in LA when the situation is right here in Memphis, Tennessee,'' he said, and apparently he understands this is no place for a picnic.

But if the Clippers think of themselves as championship-worthy, and maybe more so now with the injury to Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, they are going to have to show some grit.

If they win this series they no longer would have the home-court edge, and they should be worried how little it's taken to unsettle them.

"It was a lack of poise and cohesion,'' said Lamar Odom, yet all year long we've heard how tight these guys are as a team.

When the going got tough, Jordan was on the bench. How does a team with championship aspirations tolerate a guy who doesn't always show up?

Jordan played a little more than 17 minutes, made one of three shots for two points, and had two rebounds. You would think he's a magician as often as he disappears in games.

Coach Vinny Del Negro turned to Ronny Turiaf later despite an energetic burst early on from Ryan Hollins, but Gasol ignited the second-half romp with 18 points.

"Am I concerned? Yeah," Del Negro said. "I'm concerned because the last two games Memphis has played the way they need to in order to win. And if we don't change that at home…"

The Clippers outrebounded the Grizzlies in two games at home, 87-61. But they were no match for the growl towels, getting outrebounded here, 90-61.

They are going to have to be tougher than what they have shown in kicking a trash bucket.

They will be favored to win Tuesday at Staples, but Friday's game in the rathole might be the most telling if they really do have high hopes.

And I'll be lucky enough to see it for myself, along with the security guard they've assigned me for games here.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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