The chippy Game 4 of the Sixers-Nets playoff series from last summer will re-air on NBC Sports Philadelphia this evening at 7:00 pm and in honor of the scrap instigated by Jared Dudley with Joel Embiid that led to Ben Simmons going into the stands and Jimmy Butler getting ejected, we're looking back at the 5 best on-court altercations involving 76ers.
For more on the repurcussions of that game 4 melee, visit our archived recap here.
5. Larry Bird vs Marc Iavaroni – 1983
This scrap took place in a preseason game. A. PRESEASON. GAME. Bird took exception to Iavaroni boxing out on a free throw. The two came together, were separated and eventually Bird made his way back to Iavaroni and landed a punch. Legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach, then the team's top basketball executive stormed the court and had to be separated (for his own good) from Moses Malone. Auerbach was later fined $2,500 for his action. A reasonable price to pay to not be punched by Moses Malone.
4. Sedale Threatt vs Danny Ainge – 1986
The Sixers/Celtics rivalry takes center stage again. Before he annoyed everyone as the Celtics president, Ainge annoyed everyone as a Celtics player. On this night, Sedale Threatt decided he had enough of Ainge's act and delivered an open-hand shot to Ainge's face. To Ainge's credit, he stumbled but did not fall.
3. Charles Barkley vs Bill Laimbeer – 1990
This was the Thump and Bump Sixers vs the Bad Boys Pistons. In the waning seconds, notorious instigator Bill Laimbeer shoved a ball in his former teammate Rick Mahorn's face. Charles Barkley, never one to back down from a skirmish, jumped in and the punches flew. Benches emptied. In the end, fines were handed out to both teams, and to more than a dozen players. Laimbeer and Barkley had to pay $20,000 fines and each sat out one game. Oh yeah, the Sixers won the game that night to clinch the Atlantic Division championship.
2. Maurice Lucas vs Darryl Dawkins – 1977
The Sixres were on their way to taking a 2-0 series lead in the 1977 NBA Finals against the Trail Blazers when Darryl Dawkins and Bobby Gross tangled for a rebound. Dawkins tossed Gross to the floor. After some finger pointing by Gross, Dawkins went to deliver a haymaker and actually punched his own teammate Doug Collins. The Blazers' Maurice Lucas came to Gross' aid. Lucas and Dawkins squared off at center court. Fans actually stormed the court at the Spectrum. Order was eventually restored and the Blazers credit that moment as the turning point of the series. They went on to win the next four games and claim their first and only NBA title.
1. Julius Erving vs Larry Bird – 1984
This one takes top spot because of the star power involved. In November of 1984, Dr. J and Larry Bird were two of the top three recognizable stars in the NBA. This fight started after Bird attempted to bully his way into the post and picked up an offensive foul. As the teams went to the other end of the floor, Bird makes a beeline for Dr. J. A rookie forward by the name of Charles Barkley grabs Bird before he can get to Erving. Barkley then basically holds Bird up so that the Doctor can deliver the ultimate house call with three punches directly to the face. Remarkably, neither player was suspended. Gotta love the ‘80s.
A similar version of this post was originally published in October. The Ben Simmons as Peacemaker vs. Karl-Anthony Towns from this most recent season should also be in consideration.