[No, this post is not about the Miami Floridian Ballgirls. The photo above was just click bait. But, I’m sure the Floridian Ballgirls were there in the Miami Beach Convention Hall on this Thursday night, January 7, 1971 to cheer the ABA’s top rookie on another hot night and to witness a memorable fourth-quarter near-donnybrook featuring Joltin’ Jones and Bad Boy Brown. Here’s a quick recap from Paul Kaplan, who covered the Floridians for the Miami News newspaper. I’ve modified the text a little to fold two articles on the game from Kaplan into one and give it some flow.]
You’ve seen Charlie Scott many times before. Like in the morning when you turn on the faucet, Scott, a basketball player for the Virginia Squires, is the closest thing to water since soap. A rookie, he might be the best all-around player in the American Basketball Association.
Charlie Scott has rhythm. A bouncing basketball gives him the beat. He’s so loose that when he runs, he looks like rain. He doesn’t dribble, he drizzles.
Last night, it was water over the dam. The Floridians “held” Scott to 28 points and drowned the Squires, 118-113, before 3,206 fans at Miami Beach Convention Hall. “I’m scoring too much,” said Scott, who is averaging nearly 28 points. “I think 17 or 18 points is enough for a guard in one game. I wanna learn to be more of a quarterback for the club—you know, helpin’ the big guys out. I’m not supposed to be a scoring champion.”
Everyone should have such a problem. But Scott is serious. At 6-foot-5, he can outjump most 6-foot-8 forwards. There isn’t a guard in the ABA he can’t shoot over. But the Squires have found a balanced offense to their liking. As East Division leaders, Virginia has six players averaging in double figures.
But, the hottest action of the evening came late in the fourth quarter, when Virginia’s Larry Brown and Floridian Larry Jones—two lightweights—slugged it out in a brawl . . . both players were ejected from the game.
Direct from ringside, here’s a blow-by-blow description of the big fight last night between the Floridians’ Larry (Joltin’) Jones and Virginia’s Larry (Bad Boy) Brown at Miami Beach Convention Hall.
The Floridians were leading 111-106 with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter, and Jones came in for Ron Nelson at guard. Jones (6-foot-3) was dribbling, and Brown (5-foot-9) was guarding him. Closely.
Apparently, Brown had his hand on the back of Jones’ trunks, which would prevent a man from moving freely. According to a few spectators, Jones lightly swung around to knock Brown’s hand off his trunks, and he hit Brown in the mouth instead. No foul was called on either player.
The entire Virginia team protested loudly that a personal foul should have been called on Jones, but referees Joe Baveta and Bob Serafin would hear none of it. The game continued. For about 10 seconds. That’s how long it took for Jones to get the ball back, at which time Brown belted Jones from behind. Then Jones belted Brown, and . . .
Both men hit the ground in a big ball and rolled and bounced right off the court. Unfortunately for Jones, the two men ended up next to the Virginia bench. Fortunately for Jones, the entire Floridian team and about 100 spectators left their seats to help him out. They lined the end of the court, and several had to be restrained from joining the fray.
But Brown and Jones were the only two men fighting. It was quite a hectic affair, but for referee Baveta, it was nothing new. “I’m a detective with the New York City Police Department,” Baveta said later, “so, you see, I’m in on this ranting and raving all the time.
“Actually, I didn’t know what happened to start the fight. All I know is, if you see a contact foul, you’ve got to call it. I didn’t see any foul the first time, so I didn’t call it. The second time I saw contact—plenty of it. They were fighting. So I threw them both out of the game.”
The fight was a draw, but technically, you could call it a knockout for Jones because the Floridians won 118-113. Jones’ next match will be tonight against the Memphis Pros at Miami Beach Convention Hall at 8, when they will also be honoring popular Dolphins place-kicker Garo Yepremian. He will also provide the halftime entertainment.