Grampa Celtic Talks about when Parish Coldcocked Laimbeer
The referees might not have seen Robert Parish throw a flurry of punches and slaps at Bill Laimbeer in the closing seconds of the first half of Game 5 Tuesday night, but the NBA office did. The judgment: Parish was fined $7,500 and suspended for one game.
"Fighting has no part in ous game, and we will do whatever it takes in terms of increased fines and suspensions to see that it is eliminated," NBA executive Rod Thorn said yesterday in New York.
Suffice it to say that the official Celtics reaction was one of disdain.
"I'm quite disturbed and frustrated by something we have no control and say over," said general manager Jan Volk. "It's confusing to us when we look at what happened Saturday, which was considerably more flagrant and dangerous."
He was speaking of the Laimbeer-Larry Bird fracas.
"The judgment is also interesting when you look at the dangerous, near- riotous actions of Ralph Sampson last year," added Volk.
Volk made it clear that he believes Laimbeer's track record should have been taken into consideration before any decisions were made.
"We're not talking about a guy who swings elbows like Rick Mahorn -- with flair. This is a guy who sticks his elbows out and, with a little flick of 3 or 4 inches, removes Bill Walton's teeth last year," said Volk. "What he did to Larry was career-threatening, and yet the monetary aspect was less ($5,000) and there was no suspension."
Summing up his view of Laimbeer, Volk declared, "The consummate provocateur is still roaming the hardwood. The incidents he's been involved with are numerous and well known."
When informed of Parish's punishment, Bird said, "For doing that good deed?"
The incident occurred with 23 seconds remaining in the first half. Boston was leading, 58-55, when Darren Daye tossed up a little flip shot, which wouldn't drop. Parish tried an underhand tap, but that wouldn't go, either.
Laimbeer had inside rebound position and seemed to graze Parish with an elbow. Parish then hit Laimbeer in the face three times. Detroit coach Chuck Daly came charging out on the court, indicating via hand signals that Parish should be ejected from the game.
The only call was on Daye for fouling Isiah Thomas.
Said referee Jack Madden, the lead official, "Neither Jess (Kersey) nor I saw any punch thrown by anyone at any time in the game. Obviously, we weren't going to allow anyone to throw a punch and get away with it. I saw Laimbeer fall, but I don't know how he fell."
Agreed Kersey, "I got a foul on the baseline, and that's why Isiah went to the line. I didn't see any punches."
Daly was enraged afterward. "That was a very vicious, flagrant foul," he fumed. "He (Parish) has done that a lot to Billy ever since I've been with this team."
Laimbeer said he was expecting to get punched by someone.
"I knew somebody was going to take a swing at me after K.C. Jones didn't get fined for taking a swing at me in Detroit," Laimbeer said.
Asked if he was hurt, Laimbeer said, "No comment."
Laimbeer did not strike back at Parish. "I assumed he was already ejected at that point," Laimbeer said. "What sense would it make for me to get ejected?"
But no foul was called on Parish. "Yes," Laimbeer said, "but this is the Boston Garden. It happened."
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