The 1982 NBA Championship Series-Lakers and 76ers

The Los Angeles Lakers 57-25 coached by former Kentucky star Pat Riley with former Celtic Bill Sharman as general manager met the Philadelphia 76ers 58-24 coached by former 76er player Billy Cunningham.

The Lakers were led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar23.9 points per game/8.7 rebounds per game, Magic Johnson 18.6 ppg/9.6 rpg/9.5 assists per game, Jamaal Wilkes 21.1 ppg and Norm Nixon 17.6 ppg.

The Sixers were led by Julius Erving 24.4 ppg, Andrew Toney 16.5 ppg, Maurice Cheeks 11.2 ppg/8.4 apg, Caldwell Jones 8.7 rpg and Daryl Dawkins 11.0 ppg/6.4 rpg.

Game one was in the Spectrum in Philadelphia and the 76ers led after the first quarter 32-30 and at the half 51-50 but the Lakers went on a 41-28 run in the third quarter to win a road victory 124-117.

The second game was still in Philly and the 76ers rebounded with six players in double figures for a 110-94 win to even the series at 1-1. The leading scorers were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 23 and Julius Erving with 24 as the teams shifted to the Forum in LA for game three.

On their home court the Lakers coasted to a 129-108 win led by Norm Nixon with 29 and Magic Johnson with 22 points while Andrew Toney had 36 for the 76ers and Erving 21 although he made only six of fourteen field goal attempts and the Lakers go up two games to one.

In game four still in the Forum the Lakers took control of the game and led all the way to a 111 to 101 victory. Magic Johnson and Jamaal Wilkes each scored 24 points,Kareem Abdul-Jabbar added 22 points and eleven rebounds and Kurt Rambus added eleven rebounds in only eighteen minutes of play.

Andrew Toney had 28 and Julius Erving 25 points for Philadelphia but LA outrebounded the 76ers 49-40 and the 76ers had 23 turnovers to LA’s 12 as the Lakers go up 3-1 and the series shifts back to Philadelphia.

Game five was tied 54-54 at the half but the 76ers outscored the Lakers 81 to 48 in the second half for a 135-102 win. Norm Nixon led LA with 20 points while Andrew Toney continued his strong play with 31 points and Erving had 23, Bobby Jones21 and Darryl Dawkins had 20 to bring the 76ersto within one game of the Lakers 3-2.

Game six was back in LA and the Lakers led throughout making 54% of their field goal attempts compared to 45% for the 76ers to win the game 114-104 and the series. Magic Johnson had a triple triple with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists and the Lakers had six players in double figures led by Jamaal Wilkes with 27 while Julius Erving had 30 and Andrew toney 29 for Philadelphia. LA outrebounded Philadelphia 49- to 35.

For the Lakers the 1980’s would be much better than the 70’s when they won only one NBA title out of three tries. They would appear in eight championship series and win five.

Magic Johnson was awarded his second championship series MVP.

In the off season Philadelphia acquired Moses Malone, one of the league’s best centers, and returned in 1983 to face the Lakers in the NBA finals.

I have been watching college and pro basketball since the late 1950’s/early 60’s and the shot at the buzzer by Jalen Suggs Saturday night is probably the most remarkable I have ever seen.

Not only the shot itself but how quickly they inbounded the ball after the made basket and got it to the right person to make the field goal attempt.

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By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocat