[ClutchFans] 25 Years Ago: Ralph Sampson Punches Jerry Sichting

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Clutch, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 1999
    Messages:
    19,273
    Likes Received:
    2,271
    3 people like this.
  2. mvpcrossxover

    mvpcrossxover Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    9,830
    Likes Received:
    170
    too young......
     
  3. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Messages:
    28,021
    Likes Received:
    1,174
    Mid-80s playoff basketball was before my time as an NBA fan, though I used to watch those games on ESPN Classic and NBA TV (and the internet).

    I thought Heinsohn wasn't too bad as an analyst. I didn't recall overt bias or homerism from him during the broadcasts that I watched. I'm not familiar with his more recent work.

    And what was Sampson's excuse for those thrown punches? Was he known to be hot head before this game?
     
  4. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 1999
    Messages:
    29,750
    Likes Received:
    603
    Sampson said he had set a pick earlier in the game on Sichting, and for revenge, I think Sichting and/or Walton popped him during the possession that led to the fight. If you watch a video clip of the infamous interview of Ralph as he headed into the tunnel after being ejected, he explains his side of the story. But, it's NSFW with one big expletive thrown out on national tv. :)
     
  5. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 1999
    Messages:
    19,273
    Likes Received:
    2,271
    Back then that was a little shocking to hear on live TV. :) That Ralph interview is at the 6:49 mark of the video.
     
  6. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Messages:
    32,221
    Likes Received:
    655
    Heinson was a total homer back then. It was very hard to watch as a Rockets fan. He wouldn't be totally overt like Gene Peterson or something, but any questionable calls or things and he always portrayed it as if the Celtics were in the right. That guise of neutral broadcaster made it almost worse.
     
  7. ross84

    ross84 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    39
    I enjoyed the commercials a bit more. The Jeep looked pretty good for its time.
     
  8. BetterThanI

    BetterThanI Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    4,184
    Likes Received:
    371
    Sampson never should have thrown those punches. Having said that...

    I watched those Celtics play for years and years, and to say they played "more physical basketball" is an understatement. Fact is, they got away with bloody murder on the court, because they (and the Lakers*) were the media darlings of the NBA.

    Sichting had Ralph in a full-on bear hug. His arms are completely wrapped around his friggin' torso. That was typical Celtic "defense" at the time, and Ralph had simply had enough. He snapped, and took it too far. But f*@K the NBA for not calling that crap at the time.




    * with the Lakers, it was the exact opposite. They got every foul call imaginable. If you even breathed on Magic, AC, Worthy or Kareem, they got the call. Don't get me wrong: they were great players, worthy of being HOFers. But the league helped them greatly.
     
  9. mikol13

    mikol13 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    4,077
    Likes Received:
    265
    I remember it well. I had every newspaper clipping from the Houston Post and Chronicle taking up all four walls in my bedroom, wish I would have kept them.

    That Rockets team was a lot of fun to watch, shame there was so much going on behind the scenes destroying the team. I still wonder on occasion what could have been, we'll obviously never know.

    As far as the series goes, too much going against the Rockets, Sampson letting the pressure get to him, an immature Akeem, cocaine and a great team in the Celtics. Still, fun to watch but heartbreaking as well.

    Boston had a world of talent and proved why they were one of the greatest teams ever.
     
  10. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1999
    Messages:
    38,869
    Likes Received:
    853
    that 'fight' ended Ralph . . . i think he aggrevated the back injury

    I detested the Celtics
    everyone complained about The Garden - it was the *****tiest court in the league. Nicks and Bumps odd ball bounces
    They got EVERY Call possible.
    [i.e. their ridiculous home record]
    Just an overall *****ty club and organization


    Rocket River
    still don't like them
     
  11. Deckard

    Deckard Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Messages:
    38,589
    Likes Received:
    1,652
    Totally understand the feeling! Walton threw Sampson to the floor during the melee, with Ralph landing square on his back, but the incident I recall is a brutal fall by Sampson in Boston, where he fell quite a distance, landing on his back. I think that was what really did him in. All his subsequent problems stem from that fall, IMO. That, and lousy medical care compared to what we have today.

    Clutch, I loved the comments, especially these two:

    The 1985-86 Boston Celtics won 67 games and were an astounding 40-1 at home (still a record). This was a great team, considered by some to be the best NBA team ever (the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls may argue that). Yet, isn’t it interesting that while critics dismiss the Houston Rockets’ titles in the 1990′s because they didn’t face Michael Jordan and the Bulls, they don’t say the same about this particular Celtics team with respect to the Lakers. After all, Boston lost to Los Angeles in the Finals in both 1985 and 1987 but were denied the chance to face the Lakers in ’86, courtesy of the Rockets.


    I count no less than 6 players in this series that could completely solve the pivot problems of the 2011 Rockets — McHale, Robert Parish, Bill Walton, Olajuwon, Sampson and Jim Petersen. Yes, Jim Petersen. Hell, even Granville Waiters would give Jordan Hill a run for his money. I mean, back then, the Rockets had so much size they were converting franchise centers to power forward. Today’s Rockets are begging 6-foot-4 fours to slide to five.

    You are absolutely right about Jim Petersen. I made the same comment a couple of days ago (somewhere) that Petersen would be the starting 5 on this team, and better than anyone we have. An underrated player, in my opinion.
     
  12. Hakeemtheking

    Hakeemtheking Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    5,600
    Likes Received:
    134
  13. roswell raygun

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    27
    Ralph should punch him again today, just to celebrate.
     
  14. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 1999
    Messages:
    99,556
    Likes Received:
    1,756
    Loved that team, thought we had many championships ahead of us......danged drugs.....

    DD
     
  15. DonnyMost

    DonnyMost Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    Messages:
    37,115
    Likes Received:
    1,467
    [​IMG]
     
  16. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    26,723
    Likes Received:
    842
    Yeah it was a different time and league regarding the lack of suspensions from that game. In game 5 of that year's WCF when Dream and Mitch Kupchak got thrown out I remember Heinsohn saying that neither player should be thrown out.
     
  17. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    26,723
    Likes Received:
    842
    Nice trip down memory lane. I was only in my teens then but still remember that game. Watching the highlights brought back one other thing that I remember about the game was that Sampson was playing a great game, having scored 12 already when he was thrown out relatively early in the game.
     
  18. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 1999
    Messages:
    19,273
    Likes Received:
    2,271
    Yep... it was that same season. In looking at the box scores, it turns out it was just a couple of months before this series -- March 24, 1986 in Boston. Sampson was getting a rebound off right baseline (if I recall right), and he slipped and fell. But it was a nasty fall... it was like he slipped straight back or didn't land right. Both feet went out from underneath him and he fell like a tree straight on his back. His head thudded against the floor. It was ugly... they took him off the floor on a stretcher.

    And I think you're right -- better medical care likely would have kept him out longer to heal... at least they would have spotted that it was still affecting him. I'm sure the playoffs being less than a month away played a role.

    Thanks, Deck. Agreed -- sure would be nice to add a big man like that right now. Petersen was big (looking back at that video he was bigger than I remembered) and could play a physical style. The Ivory Tower was pretty good for a 3rd round pick (51st overall) and it certainly helped him going against Dream and Ralph each day in practice. I met him and Robert Reid at North Oaks Mall back in the day... loved that team.

    You can say that again. Losing Lucas sucked though Reid did play well, but the two-year suspension for Lloyd and Wiggins in 86-87 was like a punch in the gut to me. Both players were underrated in my opinion.
     
  19. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Messages:
    36,424
    Likes Received:
    2,908
    1. Thanks for posting, Clutch. Amazing how quick Hakeem is. His defender often looks like he's standing in cement.

    2. Looking at the 85/86 Celtics roster, I counted 6 guys who went on to become an NBA head coach at one time or another: Bird, McHale, Ainge, Carlisle, DJ, and Sam Vincent.

    3. Watching Bill Walton in the videos, I wonder if Yao Ming can give the Rockets a 86 Walton-like season or two. Walton's foot problems make Yao Ming look like Cal Ripken Jr., and yet he managed to give that team 20 good minutes a game that season.

    4. Jim Petersen does color commentary for the Wolves local broadcast. Whenever I listen to him on League Pass, he's always praised the Houston Rockets and is generally articulate and objective and not the bitter terrible homer some of the local broadcast guys are (Tommy Heinsohn, for one, has only gotten worse with age). I wouldn't mind having him do the Rockets broadcast one day.
     
  20. Dave2000

    Dave2000 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Messages:
    10,434
    Likes Received:
    292
    Learned a lot from reading the article, thanks a bunch Clutch

    btw, there was a Craig Ehlo sighting when they showed the bench. Was he ever a big part of the team? I think most in my age group ('82 born) only remember him as the guy guarding Jordan vs. the Cavs in his fist pump FT shot
     

Share This Page