Before Rick Mahorn became famous in Detroit with the Bad Boys in the late eighties, he was part of a paired up with Jeff Ruland to create another imposing tandem in Washington. Injuries kept them from making a name for themselves the same way that those Detroit teams did, but they still left quite an impression on those who had to play against them.
[With Washington], Rick Mahorn and Jeff Ruland just used to literally beat the s---out of you. They would hurt you. You'd come off a screen, and they would drill you. That's why they were called the Bruise Brothers.
Mahorn teamed with another big lout of comparatively limited talents and somehow deceptively high basketball intellect. He was named Jeff Ruland. Later on he became a college coach. Together they gave hell to the Dobber Parish, Karloff McHale and the Bird Man, who some call the greatest frontline ever. Some said that, and gave way. Some said it and played harder.
Mahorn and Ruland played harder.
The Bullets took games off the Celtics in Boston Garden in the '80s, when that was hard to do. They muscled up, blocked out, pulled chairs and grinded up bones on the O board to make their bread. Mahorn smiled that picket fence smile of his, that sardonic smile, ironically, the same smile Russell used on everybody else to make the Celtics the ultimate winning machine. The smile that made opponents think, "What's that #%@!& smiling about?" instead of "how is this guy managing to beat me?"
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