In the 1984 NBA Finals Kevin McHale defended a fast break basket by clotheslining Kurt Rambis. Both benches emptied and the tone was set. The Celtics went on to win the game in the overtime as well as the series. Some accredit the 1984 Celtic Championship to McHale’s hard foul.
Before Kevin McHale hit Kurt Rambis, the Lakers were just running across the street whenever they wanted. Now they stop at the corner, push the button, wait for the light, and look both ways.
— Cedric Maxwell
Of course in 2011 it’s a different game. Andrew Bynum’s flagrant to J.J. Barea has him suspended for the first five games of next season, fined $25,000 for the jersey thing and nearly brought Magic Johnson to tears. Granted Bynum’s foul was to a guy he had a foot on and outweighed by over 100lbs. Not to mention it was during what was basically garbage time while his team trailed by 30 points.
In 1984 something like that could help you win a championship in 2011 it might get you run out of town.