Game: Celtics 99, Bullets 96
Series: Celtics 3, Bullets 1
After 16 quarters and one overtime period, the smoldering embers finally exploded when the Celtic-Bullet series came to a close last night. As time expired, guards Gerald Henderson and Frank Johnson went at it. The first punches of the series were thrown as the two point guards grappled on the floor. Both benches emptied in an attempt to separate the combatants.
"It was no big thing," said Henderson, who had an ice bag on his right thigh and red welts around his shoulders. "It was just tough to ignore the things going on. It was just something I couldn't continute to tolerate. I don't want to say any more about it." Henderson didn't say anything about a flesh wound, but Cedric Maxwell said, "I want to know how Gerald Henderson could have a human bite on him."
It sounds like shades of last April, when Atlanta's Tree Rollins bit Danny Ainge's middle finger in the third and final game of Boston's mini-series against the Hawks. "I was denying him the ball, we got tangled up and tempers flared," said Johnson. "We made up, we always do."
"I had no idea what was going on out there," added Jeff Ruland. "I was just sorry I couldn't get one punch in just for the fun of it." Why did the Celics have so much trouble with the Bullets? "It seems like they pay particular attention to us," says Celtic coach K. C. Jones. "They pay attention to us more than any other team in the league. You look at our record (62-20) and at theirs (35-47) and it seems like a big difference, but they give us a tough time every time they play us."
In the four-game set, Boston took 111 free throws to Washington's 72. The Celtic bench outscored Washington's 194-57 . . . The Celtics open their next series (vs. Detroit or New York) Sunday at 1 p.m. The second game of that series will be played next Tuesday or Wednesday night. Tickets for that game (game D) will go on sale at the Garden box office this morning at 11 . . . Chris Ford and possibly Jimmy Rodgers will scout the Knicks-Pistons game in New York tonight . . . Danny Ainge (sprained left ankle), who hasn't played since April 8, says he's ready to play . . . Nineteen years ago today, the Celtics won their eighth NBA title, defeating the Lakers, 129-96, to win the championship series, four games to one.