How could Phil let this happen?

Incomprehensible. Disgusting. Deflating. Ridiculous. Sickening.

Impossible to fathom. A total meltdown. Appalling. Revolting. Depressing.

Talk about a choke job. Historical and horrifying. Alarming. Shocking.


The Lakers have the game’s best coach, the game’s best player and a 24-point lead almost halfway into a game they really must win, and they fall apart, disappear, take the rest of the night off.

Unexplainable. Laughable, if everyone isn’t crying, and Boston doesn’t have to win but one more game to win a championship that was still there in the Lakers’ clutches.

The Lakers get the quarter of all quarters from Lamar Odom, and one quarter from Lamar Odom in this series is a gift from beyond, and it’s not enough.

The Celtics are limping, their center going to the locker room holding his shoulder, and no way, no how can this happen.

“I mentioned at halftime we had to come out and win the third quarter,” Phil Jackson said, and so the Lakers came out and were outscored, 31-15, in the third quarter.

Sasha Vujacic is the hero in Game 3, and one for nine in Game 4, playing without his athletic supporter after Ray Allen left him behind to secure the victory.

“Can you describe what happened,” a reporter began, and while he continued to be more specific about the play of Vujacic, it should’ve stood as the only question of the night for Jackson, who is not supposed to let something like this happen.


I RECEIVED several hundred e-mails from folks in Boston who wanted to know if I was some kind of idiot. Imagine that.

I had written an article the other day about Curt Schilling’s blog and had mentioned the fact he was picking on Kobe Bryant, “our consummate team player,” and every one of these people e-mailed to say Bryant is not the consummate team player. Imagine my surprise.

They also directed me to another blogger, Bill somebody-or-other, who writes for ESPN.

“It has been hysterical to watch the city of Los Angeles rush to Kobe’s defense by ripping Schilling, as evidenced by [Simers’] column,” wrote somebody-or-other, “instead of coming to grips with the fact the last five months of hunky-dory, ‘Good Ship Lollipop’ Lakers stories was Hollywood’s biggest (bogus) story of the year. . . . Kobe is a wonderful basketball player. We all concede this point. Just don’t keep trying to sell us on the fact he’s a good teammate.”

If even the really knowledgeable, astute bloggers in this business are tired of my trying to defend Kobe, then maybe I should just stop.

NBA COMMISSIONER David Stern called the media together 30 minutes before the game, everybody figuring he was going to tip them on who might win Game 4.

Instead, Stern wanted to make it clear the NBA is on the up and up. He said every official in the league has been asked if he ever fixed a game, and gee-whiz, golly-gee, you know what -- none of them said they have ever cheated.

That takes care of that, as far as Stern is concerned.

If they want to begin clearing the refereeing cloud hanging over the NBA, they should start tagging players with technical fouls every time they so much as make a face or say anything about a call or non-call -- throwing players out of the game until they get the message that such histrionics won’t be tolerated.

That means Pau Gasol probably won’t be around for the end of the game, but once he gets the message, maybe he’ll stop whining and encouraging the fans to challenge every whistle or non-whistle.

BEFORE THE game, Justin Timberlake sought out Stephen A. Smith and Beckham to hug each of them. I’m happy to report there were no wardrobe malfunctions.

STOPPED IN San Diego Wednesday night to check on the guys, and told Joe Torre he must be pulling for a seven-game NBA series, so the media doesn’t start paying attention to his losing team.

“I’m hoping maybe it will be a 13-game series,” Torre said.

I ASKED Torre about the alleged referee shenanigans in the NBA, and he said, “Shouldn’t they have fixed that by now?” before catching himself and saying, “Make that ‘adjusted’ by now.”

EVERYONE WAS so supportive in regard to tonight’s event, “Scully & Wooden for the Kids,” Nomar Garciaparra walking by and saying, “Don’t mess it up or it’s the end of your career.”

Talked to Bill Walton at length before Game 4, who swears he saw Wooden in nightcap and gown the night Wooden caught the players and cheerleaders in a Tucson hot tub. We’ll have to check with Wooden to see if he still has that nightcap and gown.

With the help of AM 570 and Jackson Limousine, though, we’re sending cars for Scully & Wooden just to make sure they show up on time for the 7:30 show.

I worry about Scully getting cold feet having to appear in front of so many people.

ONE LAST chance: Several TV positions for the program have been moved, freeing up a couple of hundred more tickets at $100 or $200 each -- giving folks one more chance to support the local children’s hospitals and attend after going to

Actor Jimmy Smits donated his talent to the production, providing the voice for a 1958 video showing what L.A. was like when Scully and Wooden first met here on the street by chance.

Should everything go badly, Scully or Wooden walking out because the moderator has aggravated them -- and what are the chances of that, I know this, Saturday morning I’m going for doughnuts with the granddaughter and everything will be just fine.

TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from Richard Turnage:

“Just watched the player introductions and saw something kinda strange. When Gasol ran onto the court, he was subjected to a gauntlet of teammates giving him numerous, spirited ‘high fives.’ Out of habit, Pau immediately started contorting his face and rolling his eyes, searching out a ref to screech he was fouled.”

Can’t top that.


T.J. Simers can be reached at To read previous columns by Simers, go to