So what are you going to do with those Lakers? Go easy on the croissants. Hold the shrimp bisque. Better throw them some raw meat instead.
Yesterday's wimps, today's bullies, that's the way it goes for the Lakers, who took a 2-1 lead in the National Basketball Assn. championship series by defeating the Celtics, 136-111, Sunday afternoon before a Forum crowd of 17,505.
The Lakers beat the Celtics at what is supposed to be their own game, which is to be more physical than the other guy. But this time, the Laker idea of finesse was whether to push with one hand or two.
"The closer a team gets to a ring, all hell could break loose," Laker forward Bob McAdoo said.
Now there is a whole different light being shed on this series. Suddenly, the Lakers are the baddies, and it's the Celtics who are complaining about the play being too rough.
This is a startling role reversal, almost as shocking as Celtic forward Cedric Maxwell refusing to talk, which is what he did after the game.
Celtic Coach K.C. Jones, however, had plenty to say.
"There's a fine line between physical and dirty," Jones said. "They're crossing that line."
If they really are, then it is a line where Laker sneakers normally fear to tread.
"What we should do is meet them out in the parking lot and have a fight to get it out of our system, then we can play ball," Larry Bird said. "I don't know if the league is ready for it, but the Celtics are." Oddly enough, the Lakers may be ready, too.
Jones was upset mainly with Laker reserve Mitch Kupchak, whom he found guilty of trying to do some serious damage to Celtic center Robert Parish by allegedly trying to remove his head from his shoulders.
"Push, shove, grab, that's all part of the game," Jones said. "But when you're trying to take somebody's head off, that's different. That was dirty. You don't go in there and try to hurt someone."
Kupchak, who had seven points and five fouls in 13 minutes, said his defense needed no defending.
"If according to K.C.'s definition of dirty we can do that for two more games and win the series, then I love to play dirty," he said.
There really was a game being played Sunday, even if it was sometimes difficult to find because of the trouble that was breaking out all over the court.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists as he put together impressive back-to-back games. Abdul-Jabbar also became the all-time playoff scoring leader, breaking Jerry West's record, when he dropped a 12-foot sky hook in the third quarter after an assist by Magic Johnson.
Johnson had 16 assists, 17 points and 9 rebounds. Kurt Rambis also had nine rebounds as the Lakers once again defeated the Celtics on the backboards, 49-37. Rambis was destined for other things, though.
So was McAdoo, who presented a very good case for staying around next season, by scoring 19 points in 25 minutes. McAdoo also took down six rebounds, blocked a couple of shots and got the Lakers off and running with their newly found aggressive style.
"We are \o7 not\f7 going to stand around and get pushed all over the floor," McAdoo said. "If we are going to win against the Boston Celtics, we are going to have to play their type of game."
Blood types nearly became important early. In the first quarter, there was McAdoo trading head-high elbows with Kevin McHale, then aiming an open-handed slap at McHale, which luckily missed. Call it an air slap, but both McAdoo and McHale received technical fouls anyway.
That little exchange was only a hint of what was to follow.
The Lakers were down, 26-23, at the time, and still trailed the Celtics, 48-46, midway through the second quarter when McAdoo pushed McHale into Magic Johnson, and Johnson pushed McHale. Johnson got a technical, but the Lakers soon got the lead.
James Worthy, whose offense had been silent for the first two games, broke loose for 15 of his 29 points in the second period. The Lakers finished the first half with a 65-59 lead, built largely on a 23-7 surge that turned a 48-38 deficit into a 61-55 lead.
Worthy scored 14 more points in the third quarter, and the Lakers led, 88-75. This is where things became really interesting again.
Rambis began hitting the floor with regularity. The first time, Rambis landed on the floor with Danny Ainge on top of him when they were busy chasing a loose ball.
It was actually one of the few times the Celtics found themselves on top. Bird sat down after shooting 8 for 21 and scoring 20 points when the Lakers held a 116-96 fourth-quarter lead.
A little more than a minute later, it was time for Rambis to hit the deck again, ridden to the floor on this occasion by Celtic guard Ray Williams. They were contesting a rebound, but Williams fell with Rambis against some folding chairs at courtside near the Laker bench.
Williams was ejected, and Rambis said he had no comment about what happened other than a few general words, but certainly no apology, for what was going on out there on the court.