Welcome to playoff basketball.
"There's nothing wrong with hard, physical play," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I think it should be allowed more, but nothing where it has a chance to injure a player. That's not good."
"I didn't get a chance to see it," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "But normally what happens when you see the same people over and over in an extended period of time and the stakes get higher, it's been the history of NBA basketball. I hearken back to the Lakers-Boston series a long time ago. I mean, [Kurt] Rambis and [Kevin] McHale and those guys would take each other down in a heartbeat. I don't think it's anything new. I think what's happened is the players make so much money today. You have to be really careful that you don't hurt somebody and take away their career. Back when I played, a punching foul was $100, so you didn't say anything to those big guys. They would punch you and give you $100. Now it's $150,000, so they're less likely to punch you, so you talk more."
Collins was involved in one of the most memorable punches in Sixers history when, during Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1977 Finals, Darryl Dawkins and Maurice Lucas squared off on the court after a hard foul. Dawkins threw the first punch, except he hit Collins near his right eye, a shot that required a few stitches. Collins stayed in the game and the Sixers won to go up, 2-0, in the series. They wound up losing the next four. Collins was rewarded, though, for his efforts that game.
"[Dawkins] did give me $100 and these stitches right here," Collins said.
No honor for Iguodala
The NBA' All-Defensive Teams were announced Wednesday and Sixers forward Andre Iguodala, often lauded by Collins as one of the league's best defenders, did not get enough votes to garner first- or second-team honors.
The first team consisted of forwards LeBron James, of Miami, and Serge Ibaka, of Oklahoma City; guards Chris Paul, of the Clippers, and Tony Allen, of the Memphis Grizzlies, and center Dwight Howard, of the Orlando Magic.
The second team: Boston's Rajon Rondo and the Lakers Kobe Bryant at guard; New York's Tyson Chandler and Luol Deng from Chicago; and Boston center Kevin Garnett.
Iguodala's absence didn't make sense to Collins.
"I think he's one of the premier defenders in this league," he said. "LeBron is a guy who can guard multiple positions, as can Dre. But to me, there's no question that Dre should have been no worse than a second-team defender. But I know what he does for us, and I know that our team knows what he does for us. But it's nice to be recognized. Like when he made the All-Star team this year, that was a great recognition for him. He prides himself on his defense. That's what he hangs his hat on every night. I know that I sure appreciate him."
Hours before Game 6, fans and players were caught up in whether the little guy was in the house.
"Is AI here?" Elton Brand asked a reporter 2 hours before the game. Fans stood from the time they entered the building to try to get a glimpse of Allen Iverson, after word leaked that he would be in attendance.
The place exploded when Iverson exited the tunnel close to the Sixers bench and, wearing a Lou Williams jersey and a Sixers warmup jacket, handed the game ball to referee Joey Crawford to begin the most important game in Philadelphia in quite some time.
Contact Bob Cooney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BobCooney76. Read his blog, Sixerville, at www.philly.com/Sixerville.