Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwellapologized on the air last night for saying that a female referee should "go back to the kitchen" after he disagreed with one of her calls.

Maxwell made the comment during the Celtics' 77-72 victory over the Rockets on Monday. He subsequently said, "Go in there and make me some bacon and eggs, would you?" in reference to referee VioletPalmer.

"If I said anything that might have been insensitive or sexist in any way, then I apologize because she worked extremely hard to get where she is now, end of quote," Maxwell said before the Celtics' game against the Knicks on WEEI-AM, which is owned by Entercom Communications.

"This really has been a firestorm," he added later.

· SENTENCING:A man who hit former Pacers G Stephen Jacksonwith a car during a fight outside a strip club last fall was sentenced to two years in prison.

Deon Willford, 23, was convicted Feb. 12 of felony battery and a misdemeanor charge of failure to stop at the scene of an accident.

Marion (Ind.) Superior Court Judge Patricia Giffordsentenced Willford to four years on the felony count, with two years suspended. He also was sentenced to a year for the misdemeanor count, which would be served at the same time, and to two years probation.

Willford, who apologized before Gifford sentenced him, could serve less than a year in prison because he gets credit for time already served and could shave more time off with good behavior behind bars.

· FINISHED:Celtics F Wally Szczerbiakwill have season-ending ankle surgery next week. The operation at New England Baptist Hospital is scheduled for March 8, the team said.

Szczerbiak has missed significant time in four of the last five seasons because of injuries. The eighth-year pro has missed 24 games this season because of injury -- all but one because of ankle sprains.

-- From News Services