Mcmillan, Brooks Ejected For Brawl
The violence on display throughout the NBA's regular season made a couple of appearances in this playoff series.
In Round 1 of last night's playoff game, Seattle's Nate McMillan and Houston's Scott Brooks were ejected after scuffling in the final minute of the third period. In Round 2, late in the final period, the Rockets' Winston Garland was called for a flagrant foul for pulling down Seattle's Gary Payton.
If accounts by McMillan and lead official Darrell Garretson hold up after videotape reviews, it's unlikely suspensions will result from McMillan's encounter with Brooks and its aftermath.
Both were ejected with 42.7 seconds left in the third quarter after their tussle ignited a gang shoving match between the two teams.
"It wasn't real smart on his part," said Brooks, who also was assessed a personal foul. "All I was doing was pressuring him on defense. You know, they had a big lead. There's no reason for him to throw three elbows at me. That's the bottom line. I don't know what he was thinking."
Nothing much, according to McMillan.
"People said I threw some elbows," he said. "By protecting the ball, my elbows are out there automatically."
Neither player appeared to throw any punches.
The real action was peripheral. Rocket forward Otis Thorpe appeared to shove Sonic forward Shawn Kemp during the melee. Sonic Coach George Karl rushed toward Thorpe, and the two had to be restrained.
Kemp, who said he was trying to separate players, then rushed toward Rocket Coach Rudy Tomjanovich and hit him with a shoulder.
Garretson said Rod Thorn, the NBA's vice president of operations, could fine or suspend players if the tapes show anyone throwing a punch.
Said Garretson, the NBA's supervisor of officials, "But we didn't see any punches thrown or anybody leave the bench."
On the second incident, Garland denied that was trying to injure Payton when he extended his right arm and pulled down Payton by the neck.
"I was just trying to make the play and keep him from scoring," Garland said.
Players on both teams said they thought the incidents will be forgotten by Game 6 tomorrow.
"People are going to play hard, but no one wants to hurt their team's chances by doing something stupid," Kemp said.
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