BOSTON -- Celtics star Larry Bird and General Manager Red Auerbach each face fines for their roles in Sunday's exhibition game fracas between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
The National Basketball Association continued its investigation today of the game at Boston Garden in which Bird, teammate Gerald Henderson and Philadelphia's Marc Iavaroni were ejected for fighting.
The two Atlantic Division rivals meet Wednesday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Jack Joyce, the NBA's director of security, will conduct the investigation with the help of Scotty Sterling, the league's vice president for operations. Videotapes of the game and reports from non-union referees Ralph Lembo and Jesse Hall arrived at NBA headquarters Monday.
'The next step will be to interview the participants,' NBA spokesman Alex Sachare said. 'It won't be just those ejected but anyone involved.'
'The fact that this was a preseason game doesn't affect the way we approach it,' he said.
Bird, Iavaroni and Henderson may not be the only ones fined. Auerbach, who also is the team's president, left his seat and rushed onto the court when Bird and Iavaroni were ejected. In a scene that recalled his 1957 decking of St. Louis Hawks owner Ben Kerner, the Celtics executive took on Moses Malone -- verbally -- for roughing up Cedric Maxwell.
'Hit me, you big SOB,' Auerbach, 65, said to Malone after taking off his glasses. 'Go ahead. I'm not big, hit me you SOB.'
'If Moses had hit Red, (Philadelphia owner) Harold Katz would be paying Red, not Moses,' said Boston's M.L. Carr. 'Moses' money would be referred instead of deferred.'
Auerbach said the whole thing started because the defending NBA champions thought 'they're going to bury us.'
'First, they knock (Cedric) Maxwell down and then that other guy (Iavaroni) is doing a job on Bird and all that kind of stuff is going on. I couldn't help it. I just got mad,' he said.
Bird refused to comment while Iavaroni said their difference of opinion stemmed from a pushing incident. Henderson was tossed for punching Sixers' rookie Sedale Threatt, although the Boston guard said a wayward elbow prompted his response.
'It's a shame the game has to get to this point,' Cunningham said. 'You never like to see the athletes have fists flying. There wasn't any control out there and these are two teams who are intense.'
Sixers owner Harold Katz said the fault was entirely Boston's.
'Those incidents were uncalled for,' Katz said. 'You can't touch the Celtics players in Boston Garden, apparently that's the new rule.'
Katz also said he was shocked when Auerbach ran onto the court.
'I've never seen it done before. I mean, the man was sitting in the stand and he ran onto the court.'
'I thought it might be the first game in NBA history to be called because of violence,' said Maxwell, who scuffled with Malone just three minutes into the game.
But Maxwell said he really wasn't surprised at the fighting 'because with our two teams, it's possible for anything to happen once we step onto the floor.
'I wouldn't be surprised if something happens in warmups one day.'