The Celtics were up 3-1 in the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons, and if they could make it to the NBA Finals they would win their second consecutive championship. But on May 6th, 1987, things got ugly. Pistons’ Robert Parish, left, and Celtics’ Bill Laimbeer were involved in a heated collision in Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals. (AP Photo)
This season, Boston Celtics center Robert Parish will have his number retired. And while the ceremony will take place during the playoffs, the team wants to honor the man behind the number during the regular season.
On Friday, May 1, 1987, the Boston Celtics were trying to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. The Celtics were pitted against the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics were led by the immortal Robert Parish, who was playing in what was to be his final NBA season. The Celtics were being pummeled by the Pistons, who went up 1-0 in the series with a win in game one. But the Celtics managed to win game two, thanks in part to Robert Parish’s 10 points, 4 blocks, and 5 rebounds. However, the Celtics allowed the Pistons to go up 2-0 in the series after losing to them in game three.. Read more about robert parish and let us know what you think.
Perhaps the referees were weary of witnessing Bill Laimbeer’s antics during the Eastern Conference Finals in 1987. In Game 3, Laimbeer was dismissed by NBA referees for a flagrant foul on Boston Celtics star Larry Bird. Laimbeer was generally regarded as the NBA’s most despised guy due to his cheap-shot antics and filthy play. Celtics center Robert Parish eventually snapped in Game 5.
Parish’s Game 5 foul on Laimbeer was just as egregious as Laimbeer’s Game 3 foul on Bird. Parish, on the other hand, got away with it. The Celtics rallied for a 108-107 victory despite no ejections or even a foul call. Parish did not get a ban for Game 6 until the NBA examined the video.
The first time Robert Parish lost his cool was when he punched Bill Laimbeer, he claimed.
On May 6, 1988, at Madison Square Garden, Boston Celtics’ Robert Parish takes a rest during a game versus the New York Knicks. | WireImage/Tom Berg
When he was on the court, Parish was known for his calm demeanor. Except for that one time in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 1987, Boston’s 7-foot-1 center maintained his calm and was all business. With 23 seconds remaining in the first half, Parish leveled Laimbeer with a pair of punches to the face. It’s still a major part of Celtics basketball, as it’s displayed on the jumbotron at TD Garden to get the fans going.
Parish claimed it was the first time he’d lost his cool in a recent interview with former Celtics teammate Cedric Maxwell on CLNS.
“It was the first time I had lost control of my emotions and my anger in the heat of battle,” Parish told Maxwell. “There had been a few unpleasantries exchanged, as well as a few elbows. I couldn’t believe I’d lost my cool so quickly. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that.”
After decking, Robert Parish managed to stay in the game. Bill Laimbeer is a writer and entrepreneur.
On this one, the refs must have turned the other cheek. Parish and Laimbeer engaged in a fight in the paint as they positioned themselves for a rebound. Parish became enraged by what Laimbeer did and completely forgot about basketball. Laimbeer became a punching bag for him. There will be no expulsion. Parish hasn’t done anything wrong. A whistle was blown, but it was for a loose-ball foul by Celtics player Darren Daye.
Doug Collins, who was providing color for TBS’s national television broadcast, couldn’t believe his eyes. Then he couldn’t believe referees Jess Kersey and Jack Madden didn’t make a call.
”That wasn’t correct. According to The Chicago Tribune, Collins remarked on air, “That wasn’t appropriate.” “Laimbeer ought to have taken two free throws. A technical foul, a punching foul, or anything should have been called. There has to be a name for it. It’s as if it never happened. That isn’t correct.”
The Pistons’ absence of a call might have been catastrophic. With five seconds remaining and a one-point advantage, Bird intercepted the inbounds ball from Isiah Thomas to give Boston a thrilling 108-107 win. Bird intercepted the ball and passed to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup and a 3-2 lead in the series.
Parish was banned by the NBA for Game 6, which the Pistons won 113-105. The Celtics clinched the series with a 117-114 victory in Game 7 at TD Garden. Parish led the team with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.
Cedric Maxwell brought up a funny remark regarding Laimbeer being struck in the face.
Maxwell was a member of the Celtics from 1977 until 1985. When the Celtics beat the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals in 1981, he was named MVP. In the 1984 NBA Finals, he again played a crucial part in Boston’s Game 7 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. During their conversation, Maxwell, who now works as a radio announcer for Celtics games, pointed out something to Parish that may reveal something about Laimbeer’s reputation.
“What surprised me was not only did you lose control when you punched him down to the ground, but none of his teammates rushed to his rescue,” Maxwell added. “I didn’t see anybody attack you.”
Parish chuckled, “I’m sorta looking over my shoulder so I don’t get sucker punched.” “However, as you said, no one assisted him, so I’m not sure what message they were attempting to give him. They’d had enough of his shenanigans, I suppose. I’m not sure what it was about.”
There was no foul. There was no assistance from teammates. That’s all there is to know about Bill Laimbeer’s reputation.
Larry Bird’s Strong Dislike for Bill Laimbeer Still Exists Off the Court
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