Miami coach Pat Riley says it is time for the NBA to reel in Chicago's Dennis Rodman.
"I think it's the most ridiculous thing to come along and we pander to it," Riley said after Monday's Game 4, when Rodman and the Heat's Alonzo Mourning wrestled to the floor. "The league knows it and they let him get away with it. He takes a half dozen cheap shots a game.""Zo vs. the Worm" played a central role in the Heat's 87-80 victory Monday to avoid a Eastern Conference finals sweep. Rodman and Mourning went to the floor with 8:14 left in the fourth quarter while battling for the ball.
"He's out there trying to poke my eyes out," Rodman said. "He got me in a headlock, trying to hit me, this and that. . . . He's just a young kid. He doesn't know how to play the game of basketball."
Rodman, whose hair these days is rainbow-hued, hid fully dressed in the locker room showers for about 10 minutes before being escorted from the arena by a bodyguard. He was razzed by Heat fans throughout the second half.
Replays showed Mourning tapping Rodman on the head before Riley separated the two players.
"I had a real hard time getting them apart," Riley said. "I had to get a knee in there, I had to get my arms in there, and they were saying everything to one another."
Rodman's streak of technical fouls in every one of the Bulls' playoff games continued when a double technical was called following the altercation.
Mourning, who scored 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, had little to say about it.
"It's unfortunate we got tied up," Mourning said. "In that situation, the referees made the right decision. . . . I'm just glad it didn't affect the outcome of the game."
Rodman had 13 points and 11 rebounds, but once again earned the wrath of his coach.
"I thought Dennis should wait until he gets his WBA, WFA license to start something like that," Chicago coach Phil Jackson said.
The battle between Mourning and Rodman began after Miami's franchise player predicted a win for Game 4 following Miami's 98-74 loss on Saturday. Rodman mocked Mourning's prediction at the Bulls' practice on Sunday and continued to taunt him during the game.
At one point, Rodman patted his chest in front of Mourning after the Heat complained about a foul in the fourth quarter.
Chicago guard Ron Harper said that Mourning and Rodman were just the highlight of a game full of trash talk.
"I enjoy these kind of games. You hear ugly at your back and everyone's talking trash. Dennis and Zo. It's a fun game," Harper said.
No players left the bench as the two struggled, avoiding a repeat of Game 5 of the Miami-New York playoff series when six players were suspended after most of the Knicks bench joined in a fight.
"See what well-trained animals we are," the Bulls' Luc Longley joked after the game.