Champions: 1983 Philadelphia 76ers Dominated NBA Playoffs

Champions: 1983 Philadelphia 76ers
Dominated NBA Playoffs

Expectations were high the moment Julius Erving joined the 76ers for the 1977 season, Things looked promising when, in his first year, Dr. J lead the Sixers to a 2-0 lead against the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA Finals only to have Bill Walton and crew storm back and win 4-2.

A championship would continue to elude Philadelphia’s faithful fans.  The Sixers would reach the finals again in 1980 and 1982 before losing to the Lakers led by Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Magic Johnson.  Twice they lost in the Conference Finals to their division rivals who went on to win the Championship.  First to Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld’s Bullets in 1979 and then to Larry Bird’s Celtics in 1981 after leading the series 3-1.

In 1983, the Sixers added the missing ingredient – Moses Malone – who, along with Dr. J and Andrew Toney, led the team to a league best 65-17 record (second best in franchise history and seventh best in NBA history at that time) while also claiming the MVP award for the second year in a row.

From NBA.com

Heading into the Finals, Malone was asked for his prediction and responded with the classic “Fo’, fo’ fo’.” Philadelphia came close to living up to Malone’s prediction of an unblemished playoff record, sweeping New York, beating Milwaukee 4-1 and then sweeping a Los Angeles Lakers team weakened by injuries to Norm Nixon and Bob McAdoo in the NBA Finals. Philadelphia’s 12-1 playoff record is the best in NBA history, and an amended version of Malone’s prediction was engraved on the players’ championship rings: “Fo’, five, fo’.”

Malone averaged 31.3 points in 15.5 rebounds as the Sixers swept the Bernard King-led New York Knicks in a hard fought series in which no game was won by double-digits.

They then faced a great Milwaukee Bucks team that had just swept the Boston Celtics.  The Bucks won Game 4 to avoid a sweep, but the Sixers rebounded in Game 5 (led by Andrew Toney’s 30 points) to win 115-103.  It was their first double-digit win of the playoffs.

In the finals, Malone out-dueled Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaging 25.8 points and 18 rebounds as the Sixers swept the Lakers to avenge their loss the year before.

Playoffs Table
G Opponent Tm Opp
1 New York Knicks W 112 102
2 New York Knicks W 98 91
3 @ New York Knicks W 107 105
4 @ New York Knicks W 105 102
G Opponent Tm Opp
5 Milwaukee Bucks W 111 109
6 Milwaukee Bucks W 87 81
7 @ Milwaukee Bucks W 104 96
8 @ Milwaukee Bucks L 94 100
9 Milwaukee Bucks W 115 103
G Opponent Tm Opp
10 Los Angeles Lakers W 113 107
11 Los Angeles Lakers W 103 93
12 @ Los Angeles Lakers W 111 94
13 @ Los Angeles Lakers W 115 108
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2017.

The team is ranked among the top 10 all-time NBA teams by both NBA.com, Hoop Doctors and Bleacher Report.  They won that title 32 years ago today.


The 2001 Los Angeles Lakers would match the Sixers’ playoff dominance with their 15-1 run, the culmination of which was a 4-1 series victory over Philadelphia in their only return to the NBA Finals since 1983.

Player Age TRB AST STL BLK PTS
Moses Malone 27 15.3 1.3 1.1 2.0 24.5
Julius Erving 32 6.8 3.7 1.6 1.8 21.4
Maurice Cheeks 26 2.6 6.9 2.3 0.4 12.5
Andrew Toney 25 2.8 4.5 1.0 0.2 19.7
Bobby Jones 31 4.6 1.9 1.1 1.2 9.0
Clint Richardson 26 3.2 2.2 0.9 0.2 7.6
Clemon Johnson 26 6.4 0.8 0.5 0.9 6.8
Marc Iavaroni 26 4.1 1.0 0.4 0.6 5.1
Reggie Johnson 25 3.1 0.8 0.3 0.6 5.5
Franklin Edwards 23 1.0 2.7 1.0 0.1 6.7
Russ Schoene 22 3.3 0.7 0.3 0.2 5.1
Earl Cureton 25 3.7 0.6 0.5 0.3 3.4
Mark McNamara 23 2.1 0.2 0.1 0.1 2.2
J.J. Anderson 22 0.9 0.1 0.1 0.0 1.3
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2015.
Playoffs Per Game Table
Player Age TRB AST STL BLK PTS
Moses Malone 27 15.8 1.5 1.5 1.9 26.0
Julius Erving 32 7.6 3.4 1.2 2.1 18.4
Maurice Cheeks 26 3.0 7.0 2.0 0.2 16.3
Andrew Toney 25 2.3 4.6 0.9 0.1 18.8
Bobby Jones 31 4.8 2.8 1.3 1.5 8.6
Clint Richardson 26 3.0 1.8 1.2 0.2 6.8
Marc Iavaroni 26 4.4 1.5 0.6 0.5 5.2
Clemon Johnson 26 3.6 0.6 0.3 0.4 4.2
Franklin Edwards 23 0.8 1.4 0.4 0.0 3.3
Reggie Johnson 25 0.0 0.6 0.2 0.0 1.2
Earl Cureton 25 1.0 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.4
Mark McNamara 23 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.0
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2017.
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