"Tomorrow will be the same type of game, a war. It will be like that until this series is over." -- Robert Parish
Robert Parish, who loomed large but was little seen in the first two playoff games against the Bullets, credited his excellent performance yesterday to renewed enthusiasm and said he hoped to maintain it today when the Boston Celtics and Washington play the fourth game of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal at Capital Centre.
"I came out with a lot more intensity," the 7-foot center said after getting 25 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots in the Celtics' 92-83 victory.
Parish also played protector when Bullets center Rick Mahorn vented his frustration by throwing the ball at Gerald Henderson after being called for his fifth foul with 1:28 to play. Henderson spun and started at Mahorn, but Parish quickly came to the defense of the slender, 6-foot-2 guard.
"He was a little overmatched against Gerald," Parish said when he could smile about the incident that brought players off both benches. "I don't think Mahorn was intentionally trying to hurt anybody. He was just a little frustrated."
Cedric Maxwell and Jeff Ruland also squared off, but there were enough players milling around that they never got in range of each other. Rookie Charles Bradley, safely near his bench, started taunting Ruland before order was restored.
After conferring with partner Jess Kersey, head official Paul Mihalak called a technical foul on Mahorn and ejected the muscular young center.
"The technical against Mahorn was called because, after a loose ball foul call on Rick, the ball ended up in his hands and for some reason he threw the ball, hitting the back of Henderson's head," Mihalak said. "That justifies a technical and automatic ejection as far as I'm concerned. That instigated all of our problems with the pushing and the shoving."
Mahorn, who was ejected earlier this season after an incident with John Long in Detroit, said he didn't have anything personal against anybody wearing green.
"I don't know if the game was near a danger limit or not," he said, adding with a shrug, "They call what they want to call."
Henderson said the game wasn't out of control, but that tighter officiating could have prevented the outburst.
"The entire game, I was coming across the lane and he (Mahorn) would give me elbows," Henderson said. "He kept giving me elbows the entire fourth quarter and I kept telling him (Mihalak) he should have been calling the sequence earlier. After it happened (the ball thrown at him) I turned to Mihalak and said, 'You knew this was going to happen. You could have prevented it by making the calls earlier.' "
Mihalak, a veteran official, told a writer at courtside late in the fourth quarter that he wasn't going to let the game get out of control like the one recently in Atlanta. Mihalak was the lead official in Philadelphia's 98-95 victory there April 23 when Lionel Hollins punched Atlanta center Wayne (Tree) Rollins after being elbowed in the face.
"I don't blame the officials for anything," said Bullets Coach Gene Shue, who was called for a technical foul early in the fourth quarter. "They're doing the best job they can. It was a very emotional game. It was just a spontaneous act out of frustration. Tempers flare when that sort of thing happens."
Tiny Archibald was not happy about some remarks Mahorn made about him that appeared in Friday's Washington Post.
"If I can get him out of the game, that's better for us," Mahorn had said. "He's a good penetrator. Hey, if I can get him, they'll have to bring somebody else off the bench. That'll help us out better."
After admitting that the Celtics had not planned a slow, 90-point game, and saying the difference was getting the ball to Parish closer to the basket, Archibald said:
"You don't talk about taking certain guys out. You don't see people trying to go out and knock a guy's block off. If you want to do that, you should join the boxing league.
"I don't think that sort of thing is necessary," the 11-year veteran continued. "To publicize it is definitely not necessary. You know, we've got some guys who can go out and knock people out, too."
The most calming voice in Boston's dressing room came from Coach Bill Fitch.
"Not meaningful at all," he said of the Mahorn incident. "If anybody in the NBA office watches the films and reads anything into that, he's never had a fight with his wife or his girl friend."