Boxing in the middle of the NBA Finals

In the ’70s, the NBA lived more in the rhythm of battles on the floor than the exploits of its players. Spencer Haywood, who lived through this period, even remembers the almost daily exchange of pleasantries. There isn’t necessarily a real reason. In this series of scrimmages, some have taken on a greater scope or place in the history of the league. This is the case between Maurice Lucas and Daryl Dawkins.

On May 26, 1977, the Blazers traveled to Spectrum in an attempt to gain home-court advantage against the Sixers. In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, they have to offer more than their futile first meeting. Unfortunately for them, their inexperience at this level seems to be deceiving them.

This team is young — only seven years old — and is making the playoffs for the first time in its history. So inevitably, his first NBA Finals. Its workforce also doesn’t have much in common. Seven new players landed in the offseason. in, Morris Lucas.First name as last name is never a good sign. Not Guy George and Emile Louis? Well, let’s weigh in a bit. Maurice Lucas, despite his role as a follower on the Trail Blazers — earning him the nickname “The Enforcer” — is actually a good guy, a real guy, who does what he does for the community a lot of things. But on the field, especially in Game 2, he played his role and his nickname.

The fundamentals of the Blazers coached by Jack Ramsay, Bill Walton’s bodyguard was also the team’s leading scorer that seasonThe Reds believe the best player in franchise history came in the expansion draft after the ABA and NBA merged. His Kentucky Colonels stay on the field, so he’s in the market. The Blazers seized the opportunity. In this draft, they sent two players to the Hawks to reclaim the second overall pick. Thus got Mo’s hand.

Who gets them back the confidence they’ve been granted, adjusting the rim like an elbow or shoulder so that the opposing behemoth leaves his talented pivot. Walton is a big fan of his teammates and son Luke was named in tribute to Maurice LucasIt’s just that the latter has neither the talent of his father nor the fortitude of a law enforcer. That is another matter.

In these Finals, the Sixers are full of talent. It’s not just these Blazers who are first made up of blue-collar workers ready to dress up for their star, Walton. Doug Collins or World B. Free in the backcourt, George McGinnis and Darryl Dawkins in the paint — even if the latter is still a limited-time young man — especially Julius “Dr. J.” Irving. Like Maurice Lucas, the winger is an ABA defector. For bookmakers and observers, 76ers will be champs without photos. The process of the first two meetings proved them right.

On their Spectrum floor, Penn’s players won Game 1 and are heading into Game 2. They went 96-76 within five minutes of this game, calming the Cats. If the score is serious, the Blazers will try to hold on with their arms. Hardness, collision. Doug Collins remembers:

“In fact, it all started at the start of the second half. They thought they could get us out of the game by playing physical. »

Given the scores a few minutes after the session, we can say that the strategy wasn’t particularly productive. But the 76ers also increased the intensity levels, and the muscles were knocked out. So much so that in Rip City’s counterattack, everything changes. Finally, especially Daryl Dawkins and Bob Gross.but also series.

Gross and Dawkins grabbed the rebound when Herm Gilliam missed a shot near the rim. The fight – or wrestling match, your choice – ends on the ground with two players falling, clinging to each other for the ball. The referee blew the whistle. When Father Daryl got up and left the scene, he saw Gross sticking out a nice threatening finger. Along the way, he tries to give her a donut. Failed, but Dawkins’ gesture touched his teammate Doug Collins (who would end up getting stitches). He continued his journey with the utmost composure, focusing more on the result of his left hand rather than the rest of the floor, and he was amazed.

At midfield, the Blazers inside Maurice Lucas greeted him with an elbow to the head. Law enforcement cannot leave one person alone.street cred, you know. The two players then warned each other about some little dances usually reserved for boxing matches, without actually touching. But the pressure is enormous, and our worst fear is seeing these two beautiful babies face to face, ready to fight. The benches engage to stop – or engage, depending on the mood – the battle. Fans come down from the stands. After a few minutes, there was chaos. Once that calmed down — ten minutes later — the two lads were out and the game could resume, and the Sixers did the job. We don’t know yet, but the impact of this friendly exchange will have huge consequences.

A frustrated Dawkins smashed the locker room and left the paddock with his men still on the floor. He was burning with rage, furious. No one came to support him. To make matters worse, he judged his men responsible for Maurice Lucas’ blow:

“I was mad at my teammates. They let another player sneak up behind me and hit me. »

With the NBA not as strict as it is today, Dawkins and Lucas reunited for Game 3 in Portland three days later. There is no pause. The fans at Memorial Coliseum boiled, and Daryl felt it, booed. Then came the real turning point. When the announcer introduced the players, it was Maurice Lucas’ turn. Instead of running to the rest of the Big Five, he walked to the Sixers’ bench, facing a stunned Dawkins. Will he stick a new one on him? Exchange sweet words? The idea spanned many skulls in Oregon. Unlike Lucas, who served his opponent’s hand in an impersonal way, that’s a thing of the past, my man. As Mo recalled, it was immediate:

“After that, it’s done. »

In fact, Dawkins seemed paralyzed by the law enforcement’s response. Whether he wanted to or not, not only did Maurice Lucas show his people a tough road by pulling his muscles in Game 2, but he also got into the Sixers before this game by showing the other side of his personality. in the team’s mind. 3. Confidence rocked the team that united the Blazers, then ended the series with four straight wins.

An elbow, a few punches, and a handshake: Here’s how Maurice Lucas helped Oregon win its first (and only) NBA championship in the Trail Blazers’ first playoff trip , after seven short seasons in the league. Well, his 19.7 pieces and 10.7 boards are of course also important. Like Finals MVP Bill Walton’s ferocious performance (18.5 points, 19 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.7 blocks). But the most valuable fighter is Mo’.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: