The Bird-Rambis-Ainge altercation had a two-bout undercard involving McHale. One was with Magic Johnson, the other was with McAdoo, who said of McHale, "I don't know him personally, and I don't care to know him, because this is war." Biff!
"There's not much I can do about it," shrugged Jones, whose reserve guard, Ray Williams, was thumbed for wrestling Rambis into a seat on the Laker bench late in the game. "Except go back to Brockton [Mass.] and get [Marvelous Marvin] Hagler." Pow!
Abdul-Jabbar was one of the few players who distanced himself from the horseplay. "We're not out to physically harm them," he said. "But I wouldn't mind hurting their feelings." Of course, as has been abundantly documented, he's different from most NBA players. For one thing, he's 38. For another, he's a bookworm. He recently polished off a collection of short stories by the late Raymond Chandler, the mystery writer who set most of his tales in L.A.
Someone asked Abdul-Jabbar if he was familiar with author Robert Parker, the Celtic fan whose whodunits take place in Boston. "Yes," he said. "I've read four or five of his books. They're very well done. He gets a lot of his inspiration from Chandler."
Last week L.A. and Boston got plenty of inspiration from each other. The Celtics won Game 1 by cloaking themselves as Lakers. The Lakers won Game 2 by cloaking themselves as Celtics. And with all the banging around in Game 3, the series was proving to be a delightfully unpredictable, if spine-tingling, read. But it looked as though Chandler, not Parker, would get to write the final chapter.