The Sixers were on their way to take a 2-0 series lead in the ’77 NBA Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers when all hell broke loose, as the NBA world got to witness a boxing match between two of its players. And this one was for the ages.
With 4:52 left on the clock, and Philly ahead 96-76, the Sixers were on a fastbreak. After they failed to capitalize on it, Darryl Dawkins and Bobby Gross got tangled up for a rebound, as the force of 6-11 Dawkins threw both players hard to the floor. After some finger-pointing by Gross, Dawkins delivered a haymaker, with the collateral victim being his teammate Doug Collins, who ended up needing four stitches over his right eye.
After he threw a punch, Dawkins started running back towards the half-court. That’s when Maurice Lucas came to Gross’ aid, as he sucker-punched Darryl without the Sixers big man looking. That’s when squared off at center court, with fans storming the court at Spectrum.
When play was finally restored, Dawkins and Lucas had both been ejected from the game. Dawkins took his frustrations to the locker-room, kicking the bathroom stall off its moorings. By the time the game was over, he was already dressed and on his way out of the arena. And he was angry at everyone involved.
I’m mad at my teammates. They let another player sneak up behind my back and hit me.Darryl Dawkins, NY Times
According to Collins, Dawkins’ punch was a culmination of frustration for the Blazers’ dirty play since the start of the second half. With the game slipping through their fingers, they turned to non-basketball stuff to provoke a reaction and force a momentum shift that would steer the game back to their favor.
But no, momentum wasn’t shifted, as the Sixers beat Portland 107-89 and took a 2-0 lead in the Finals. However, a reaction was certainly provoked. A reaction so epic that it made our list of craziest fights in NBA history. What are the other nine? Check out the video below. And keep in mind, there’s also a Part 2, with our third iteration of NBA’s greatest fights on the way.