NBA record of 106 fouls and 12 foul outs recorded during Boston and Syracuse playoff game

March 21, 1953 - Boston Garden, Massachusetts

After edging Syracuse in the series opener of the Eastern Division Semi-Finals a mere three days earlier, the Boston Celtics stood on the precipice of a first title in franchise history.

Back on their world-famous parquet floor, just four-quarters of basketball stood between Red Auerbach and a date with the hated New York Knicks.

Or so the cigar-smoking pedagogue thought.

While the Celtics would eventually salute before their beloved Bean Town crowd, with future Hall of Famer Bob Cousy scoring a career-high 50 points, it would take quadruple over-time to separate these eastern seaboard rivals.


Well, let's just say that the referees had their hands full.

With 108 fouls called, and 12 players fouling out, this clash, now known as the Boston Garden Brawl, would enter the record books as a precursor to the Malice at the Palace all-in nearly half a century later.

Initial physical play between the Nationals and Celts had led to hands being thrown between Dolph Schayes (Syracuse) and Bob Brannum (Celtics).

Flame met gas when Schayes' teammate Billy Gabor began fighting a police officer who had stepped onto the floor to separate the opening salvo.

Red Rocha, George King, Wally Osterkorn, Noble Jorgensen, Bob Lochmueller, Bill Gabor and Al Cervi with an incongruous seven fouls from the Syracuse Nationals all fouled out, along with Ed Macauley, Bill Sharman, Chuck Cooper, Bob Harris and Bob Donham from the Celtics.

Amazingly, despite throwing hands with Schayes, Brannum would end the night with only one foul against his name.

In all, 129 free throws were attempted between the two teams, with 108 made.

The Celtics would win the fight and the game, edging the Nats out 111-105 on their home floor, wrapping the series 2-0 before falling to the Knicks 3-1 in the Division Finals across the next week and change.

The clash - in every sense of the word - would act as a sliding doors moment, with the Celtics beginning their golden run under Auerbach in 1957, while for the Nats, their NBA days would come to a close entirely just a handful of years later in 1963.