Larry Bird scored 42 points before he and Philadelphia's Julius Erving were ejected for fighting, and the unbeaten Celtics held on last night in Boston for a 130-119 National Basketball Association victory over the previously unbeaten 76ers.
"Two of the best stars in the game fighting -- it's not what people come to see," said Boston Coach K.C. Jones. "It's very unfortunate."
Philadelphia Coach Billy Cunningham wasn't as philosophical.
"(Bird) is probably the best player in the NBA," Cunningham said. "But, when he has to start throwing elbows, he's got to expect it in return . . . or we're going to come in here and point someone out to get into a fight with him. It's a two-way street."
Bird and Erving exchanged punches with 1:38 left in the third quarter after Bird was called for an offensive foul with Boston leading, 95-75. Philadelphia center Moses Malone grabbed Bird around the neck and held him as Erving hit Bird several times before other players could intervene.
Malone wrestled Bird down and players from both benches piled on.
Neither Bird nor Erving would comment after the game.
The league office has requested a tape of the game to review.
The 76ers, playing without injured guard Andrew Toney, closed to 122-115 with just under three minutes remaining. The Celtics then scored six straight points.