YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Despite Game 1 loss, Suns will knock out Lakers in six

Phoenix is not at such a size disadvantage if L.A.'s Andrew Bynum goes missing, which is completely possible.

May 17, 2010|T.J. Simers

It's 3 p.m., Chick Hearn Media Room, reminder to call it like you see it, and so I have the Lakers losing to the Suns in six.

I haven't seen much of the Suns, but I have the Lakers.

Both Oklahoma City and Utah began the playoffs going four on five with the Lakers, and yet the Lakers still struggled at times against two teams starting stiffs at center.

It's true the Lakers swept Utah, but for the most part the games were close and the Lakers were playing a team with only two players in Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.

Everyone says the Lakers are going to win because of their size advantage, and if Andrew Bynum steps up and plays big like he often does in front of the Staples Center crowds, the Lakers probably do cruise into the NBA Finals.

But if he goes missing, as he has shown a tendency to do, what size advantage do the Lakers have?

There's also no underestimating the power of positive thinking. If the Lakers lose in six, I can still join a golf excursion planned for the Lake Tahoe area in early June.

IT'S 4:48 P.M., interview room in the Staples Center basement, and there's concern now if the Lakers lose to the Suns that Phil Jackson will call it quits as coach of the Lakers.

No way. Not my good buddy Phil. I might have to start pulling for the Lakers; I certainly don't want to break in a new coach when there's a chance we might be joining Phil and Jeanie and double dating.

Apparently Phil said something on a radio show last week, but since no one listens to the show, it just surfaced.

According to a transcript of what he said, when asked about the chances of retiring, Jackson said, "Well, I think pretty good."

He went on to add the same old stuff about gauging how he might feel going into another long season, but he also said, "You wonder, is there a time where you just feel like I've had enough, I just don't want to do it anymore?"

So what about it, are you leaning one way or the other?

"No," Jackson said with a grin. "I'm leaning on the podium and that's about it."

When I said, "You're being evasive," he replied, "Thank you."

Jackson has said all along he will wait until the season is over, undergo medical tests and get away before making a decision on his future. But was this a change in his thinking?

There's also no indication how much the Lakers might be willing to spend on a head coach next season, Jackson now getting $12 million and probably not at the stage in his Hall of Fame career where he's going to be looking to take a pay cut.

"You've said if you get to the Finals, you've done a good job and will see what happens next," I said.

"Yes, right," Jackson said.

"You said you'd lean toward leaving if you don't get to the Finals."

"Correct," Jackson said. "I have said that, yes I have."

"So if you don't beat the Suns, is this it for you?"

"Thank you," he said.

IT'S 6:06 P.M., and go Lakers — win it for Philip.

The overhead scoreboard, though, reads 7-0 in favor of the Suns, and it looks like Phil is a goner.

They gave everyone in attendance a gold T-shirt to wear, but Phil's girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, who also is the marketing whiz behind the Lakers, isn't wearing her gold shirt.

And it reads, "Together We Are One." Isn't that what she's been trying to tell Phil all these years?

It's only Game 1, but the place doesn't have a playoff feel, everyone here probably not all that concerned about the Suns. And the way things are going, a Celtics victory over Orlando gives the Lakers the home-court advantage in the Finals.

The Lakers didn't have to give their all during the regular season after all.

IT'S 6:30 P.M., Lakers by 10 at the end of the first quarter, and I'm beginning to understand why Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry was saying, "size matters," although he seemed a little squeamish at the time while mentioning it.

Pau Gasol is something else, or the closest thing to Shaq, I guess, giving Kobe Bryant a ring without Shaq and no telling how many more before they part ways.

And Lamar Odom is the difference, beyond Bryant's 40 points.

By the way, I believe that's Chargers Coach Norv Turner and one of the Goofs who owns the team sitting at courtside.

Wonder if they were up here earlier to take a look at Tim Leiweke's stadium site, a good bet where the Chargers will be playing in a few years.

IT'S MIDNIGHT as far as the Suns go, and whew, we almost lost Phil there.

The Suns might still win the series, but only if they can stretch it out to 13 or maybe 15 games and the Lakers lose interest.

"Looks like you're gonna be back and doing some coaching next year," I told Phil after the game.

He smiled, put both arms out as he walked down the hallway and said, "65," noting how old he will be to start next season.

So what does that mean?

Los Angeles Times Articles