1983 NBA Finals

The 1983 NBA World Championship Series, also known as Showdown '83, was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1982–83 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. It was the last NBA Championship Series completed before June 1. The Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 0. 76ers center Moses Malone was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP). This, along with the 1989 NBA Finals, were the only two NBA championships of the 1980s not to be won by either the Lakers or the Boston Celtics. Coincidentally, the Lakers were also swept in the 1989 NBA Finals, that time by the Detroit Pistons.

Background

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers lost their first two Finals meetings with the Lakers in 1980 and 1982. While Julius Erving played superbly in both series, their frontcourt of Darryl Dawkins, Caldwell Jones, and Bobby Jones couldn't neutralize Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. So in the off-season, the 76ers acquired Moses Malone from the Houston Rockets in an effort to counter Abdul-Jabbar, in addition to providing some offense and rebounding to the team. They parted ways with Caldwell Jones, Dawkins, and Lionel Hollins before the season, while giving greater responsibility to high-scoring guard Andrew Toney and backup playmaker Clint Richardson, and adding forwards Clemon Johnson and rookie Marc Iavaroni.

Malone's acquisition paid dividends, as the 76ers won 65 games in the 1982–83 NBA season. Prior to the playoffs, Malone predicted the team would win in four games in each of the three rounds, ending it with the statement Fo, Fo, Fo. The 76ers would steamroll through the playoffs, sweeping the New York Knicks 4–0 in the conference semifinals, before overcoming the Milwaukee Bucks in five games

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers earned the top pick of the 1982 NBA draft, becoming the only defending champion to earn the top overall pick in the same season. This was because Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien traded their first round pick and Butch Lee to the Lakers for Don Ford and draft pick Chad Kinch three years earlier. Because the Cavaliers earned the worst record at 15–67, they would have earned the top overall pick via a coin toss with the 17–65 San Diego Clippers. Instead, the Lakers would earn the top pick and ultimately selected future Hall of Famer James Worthy first overall.

The Lakers won 58 games the next season. Worthy was a strong contender for Rookie of the Year when he broke his leg late in the season, therefore missing the rest of the season and the playoffs. Despite Worthy's absence, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were still in their prime, and led the Lakers back to the Finals by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 4–1 and the San Antonio Spurs 4–2 in the second and third playoff rounds, respectively.

Road to the Finals

Regular season series

The Philadelphia 76ers won both games in the regular season series:

Series summary

The final piece of the Philadelphia 76ers' championship puzzle was completed before the 1982–83 season when they acquired center Moses Malone from the Houston Rockets. They went on to capture their historic second NBA championship as they won 65 games, and stormed through the playoffs, first sweeping the New York Knicks, and then beating the Milwaukee Bucks in five games. They finally finished it off with a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, who had defeated them the season before.

Said head coach Billy Cunningham, "The difference from last year was Moses." Malone was named MVP of the 1983 Finals, as well as league MVP for the third time in his career. The 76ers completed one of the most dominating playoff runs in league history with a 12–1 mark after league and NBA Finals MVP Moses promised "Fo', fo', fo" (as in "four, four, four"—four wins to win round 1, four wins to win round 2, etc.), but it actually wound up as "Fo', fi', fo." (four, five, four). The 76ers were also led by Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, and Bobby Jones.

With 59 seconds to go in Game 4, it was Erving who made a three-point play to hold the lead for good, crushing the Lakers in a four-game sweep and ending the last NBA Finals to end before June.

Game 1

May 22
3:35 p.m. EDT
Los Angeles Lakers 107, Philadelphia 76ers 113
Scoring by quarter: 20–30, 37–24, 26–31, 24–28
Pts: Norm Nixon 26
Rebs: Mark Landsberger 10
Asts: Magic Johnson 11
Pts: Moses Malone 27
Rebs: Moses Malone 18
Asts: Julius Erving 9
Philadelphia leads the series, 1–0
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 18,482
Referees:
  • No. 14 Jack Madden
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush

Game 2

May 26
9:05 p.m. EDT
Los Angeles Lakers 93, Philadelphia 76ers 103
Scoring by quarter: 29–26, 26–25, 20–28, 18–24
Pts: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 23
Rebs: Magic Johnson 8
Asts: Magic Johnson 13
Pts: Moses Malone 24
Rebs: Moses Malone 12
Asts: Maurice Cheeks 8
Philadelphia leads the series, 2–0
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 18,482
Referees:
  • No. 10 Darell Garretson
  • No. 9 John Vanak
  • No. 12 Earl Strom (alternate)

Game 3

May 29
12:35 p.m. PDT
Philadelphia 76ers 111, Los Angeles Lakers 94
Scoring by quarter: 21–32, 28–20, 23–20, 39–22
Pts: Moses Malone 28
Rebs: Moses Malone 19
Asts: Moses Malone 6
Pts: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 23
Rebs: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 15
Asts: Magic Johnson 13
Philadelphia leads the series, 3–0
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees:
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell

Game 4

May 31
6:05 p.m. PDT
Philadelphia 76ers 115, Los Angeles Lakers 108
Scoring by quarter: 24–26, 27–39, 31–28, 33–15
Pts: Moses Malone 24
Rebs: Moses Malone 23
Asts: Andrew Toney 9
Pts: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 28
Rebs: Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Landsberger, McGee 7 each
Asts: Magic Johnson 15
Philadelphia wins the series, 4–0
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees:
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 12 Earl Strom
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey (alternate)

Player statistics

Legend
  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG% Field-goal percentage 3P% 3-point field-goal percentage FT% Free-throw percentage
 RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game
 BPG Blocks per game PPG Points per game
Philadelphia 76ers
Los Angeles Lakers


Television coverage

The 1983 NBA Finals was broadcast by CBS. Dick Stockton and Bill Russell were the commentators and Brent Musburger was the host, with Kevin Loughery as a pre-game, halftime and post-game analyst. It also introduced a new theme music (composed by Allyson Bellink) for the CBS Sports coverage of the NBA, used an introduction of the NBA arenas (similar to the Boston Garden) until the 1989 Playoffs and later revived the second theme beginning in the 1989 Finals.

Russell departed CBS following the series, and was replaced by former Celtics teammate Tom Heinsohn. Russell would later resurface as a color analyst on TBS until 1986.

Team rosters

Philadelphia 76ers

Roster listing
1982–83 Philadelphia 76ers roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.No.NameHeightWeightDOB (YYYY-MM-DD)From
G10Cheeks, Maurice6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)180 lb (82 kg)1956–09–08West Texas A&M
F25Cureton, Earl6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)210 lb (95 kg)1957–09–03Detroit
G14Edwards, Franklin6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)170 lb (77 kg)1959–02–02Cleveland State
F6Erving, Julius6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)210 lb (95 kg)1950–02–22Massachusetts
F8Iavaroni, Marc6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)210 lb (95 kg)1956–09–15Virginia
C45Johnson, Clemon6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)240 lb (109 kg)1956–09–12Florida A&M
F33Johnson, Reggie6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)205 lb (93 kg)1957–06–25Tennessee
F24Jones, Bobby6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)210 lb (95 kg)1951–12–18North Carolina
C2Malone, Moses6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)260 lb (118 kg)1955–03–23Petersburg (HS)
C31McNamara, Mark6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)235 lb (107 kg)1959–06–08California
G4Richardson, Clint6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)195 lb (88 kg)1956–08–07Seattle
G22Toney, Andrew6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)178 lb (81 kg)1957–11–23Louisiana
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Los Angeles Lakers

Roster listing
1982–83 Los Angeles Lakers roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.No.NameHeightWeightDOB (YYYY-MM-DD)From
C33Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)225 lb (102 kg)1947–04–16UCLA
G21Cooper, Michael6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)170 lb (77 kg)1956–04–15New Mexico
G34Johnson, Clay6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)175 lb (79 kg)1956–07–18Missouri
G32Johnson, Magic6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)215 lb (98 kg)1959–08–14Michigan State
F13Jones, Dwight6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)210 lb (95 kg)1952–02–27Houston
G15Jordan, Eddie6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)170 lb (77 kg)1955–01–29Rutgers
F54Landsberger, Mark6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)225 lb (102 kg)1955–05–21Minnesota
C11McAdoo, Bob6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)210 lb (95 kg)1951–09–25North Carolina
F40McGee, Mike6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)190 lb (86 kg)1959–07–29Michigan
F50Mix, Steve6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)215 lb (98 kg)1947–12–30Toledo
G10Nixon, Norm6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)170 lb (77 kg)1955–10–11Duquesne
F31Rambis, Kurt6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)213 lb (97 kg)1958–02–25Santa Clara
F52Wilkes, Jamaal6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)190 lb (86 kg)1953–05–02UCLA
F42Worthy, James6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)225 lb (102 kg)1961–02–27North Carolina
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

See also

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article 1983 NBA Finals, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.