NBA Finals Notebook -- Peter Vecsey Sued In Toy-Store Scuffle

LYNNWOOD - A Shoreline couple has sued NBC sports analyst Peter Vecsey after a fight between them in a Lynnwood toy store.

The incident occurred Tuesday at the Toys R Us near the Alderwood Mall shortly after noon, when Tracey Nephew told her husband, Derek Nephew, she thought she recognized the commentator, and the husband made a remark about Vecsey, who also writes for the New York Post.

According to police spokeswoman Trudy Dana, witnesses gave the following account:

Vecsey and his two companions overheard the remark and confronted the couple, at which point Derek Nephew said he didn't want a problem. One of Vecsey's companions pushed Nephew against a toy rack, and he was hit several times by both Vecsey and his companion. An electrician broke up the fight, loudly reminding them that they were in a toy store.

Nephew refused medical attention at the store, police said, but has since been to a doctor because he suffered bruises and a cut arm, said his lawyer, Charles Huber.

The civil suit, filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, seeks damages for injuries and emotional distress to Derek and Tracey Nephew.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case, police said. Lynnwood police are investigating the incident, but Sgt. Scott Crichton said Vecsey did not return calls from Lynnwood police yesterday.

The case has been referred to the Lynnwood city attorney for review.

Vecsey could not be reached at his hotel this morning.


Ervin Johnson and Vinnie Askew did not take a step onto the court, but both took it in stride.

Johnson, the Sonics' starting center for most of the season and all of the playoffs, was replaced by Frank Brickowski. David Wingate took Askew's place off the bench.

"It worked," said Askew, who had complained about playing time after sitting the second half of Game 3. "I'm happy when we win. It helps save my knees."

Johnson, who played three minutes in Game 3 and none last night, said, "I knew I wouldn't be playing . . . I'm not upset. It's over with. Leave it alone. No sense in going back to it. It's Coach Karl's decision. I just want to sit back and enjoy this victory.

"If called, I'll be ready to play. It's the coach's decision. I can't put myself in," Johnson said. "We still have respect for each other and that's more important than basketball."


"Sweepless in Seattle" headlines were carried in USA Today, the New York Times, The Journal-American, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The News Tribune this morning.

Not so in Chicago. Some headlines in The Chicago Tribune: "Sonics take air out of Bulls," "Pack up Sonic broom," and "Someday soon, we'll laugh about this one." The Chicago Tribune online service led with "Choked!" The Chicago Sun-Times" headline said `"eign delay."

This week's Sports Illustrated also arrived today: "BullWhipped." Suddenly, the magazine looked dated.


Chicago guard Ron Harper continued to deny reports that his knee injury is more serious than tendinitis, which is how he and team doctors have described it.

Harper first complained of soreness in his knee during drills before Sunday's Game 3, was scratched from the starting lineup and played only a minute.

He regained his starting role for Game 4, but was largely ineffective.

Harper converted just one of three shots and collected one rebound before leaving after eight minutes. He returned in the second quarter, but played just four more minutes and did not play in the second half.


The Bulls' loss left the city of Chicago with a $1 million tab for the extra police sent out to handle the celebration that wasn't.

As many as 220 state troopers were on hand and 200 National Guardsmen were on standby - as they will be tomorrow.


Gary Payton, on helping hold Jordan to 23 points: "We have to make him work hard on both ends of the floor. I'm trying to work him hard on the defensive end and offensive end, get him a little tired.

"But tonight I had to be a little more aggressive. I couldn't just stand here and let him rest."


-- Actor Charlie Sheen visited the Sonic locker room after the game. Sheen and Brickowski own a Montana ranch together.

-- The last team to lead an NBA Finals 3-0 and not sweep was the 1951 Rochester Royals who won three straight, lost the next three and won the series in Game 7 against the New York Knicks.

-- The Sonics ended the Bulls' playoff winning streak at nine games, two shy of the record of 11 by the Lakers in 1989. They also stopped Chicago's road winning streak at five Finals games, which had tied the record set by Detroit in 1989-90.

Seattle Times staff reporters Tina Kelley, Glenn Nelson, Bob Sherwin and Percy Allen and The Associated Press contributed to this notebook.