Blogtable: Were ’83 Sixers most dominant playoff team ever?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Were ’83 Sixers most dominant playoff team ever? | NBA’s best offensive rebounder today? | What you remember most about Malone?

VIDEOThe Sixers sweep away the Lakers in the 1983 Finals

> After winning 65 games in the 1982-83 regular season, Moses Malone’s 76ers went 12-1 in the postseason and swept the Lakers 4-0 in The Finals. Was this the most dominating postseason performance ever?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comThanks to Malone’s “Fo’, fo’, fo'” prediction, the 1983 Sixers’ postseason run might be the easiest to remember in terms of their 12-1 record (only Milwaukee got a game from them, defending home court while down 0-3). But it takes two teams to make for a great series and a succession of them to elevate a playoff run. While Philadelphia’s gauntlet to the title was challenging, it wasn’t as tough as the one the Los Angeles Lakers ran in 2001 while going 15-1 or what the Chicago Bulls faced either in 1996 (15-3) or 1991 (15-2). The ’00-01 Lakers outscored Portland by an average of 14.7 points, Sacramento by 9.2 and San Antonio by 22.2 in starting 11-0. They dropped Game 1 of The Finals against feisty Allen Iverson (48 points) but were far superior to that overmatched Sixers squad as they won the series’ next four.

Scott Howard-Cooper, That team, the 2001 Lakers that went undefeated against three 50-win opponents in the West before beating Philly for the title or the 1996 Bulls that crushed everyone in sight before a brief stumble in The Finals. Maybe the 76ers of 1983 get the edge because they swept a very good Lakers club, the defending champions, for the championship. That was a higher degree of difficulty than the others. L.A. had a lot of talent and couldn’t come close to keeping up.

Shaun Powell, Well, the Shaq-Kobe Lakers of 2000-01 get the nod because they had to play an extra round (under the 16-team playoff format) and their only loss in the postseason was in overtime during The Finals (coincidentally in Game 1 against the Sixers). Also, the Moses-Doc Sixers had a few close calls along the way; winning two against the Knicks by a total of five points and sweating out an OT win against the Bucks. Besides, while that Bucks team was maybe the best in Milwaukee history (they swept the Celtics), the Sixers didn’t have to go through Larry Bird and Kevin McHale, who tormented them the years before.

John Schuhmann, Statistically, the 2000-01 Lakers (15-1) were the most dominant team in the postseason, outscoring their opponents by 13.5 points per 100 possessions. Nine of their 15 wins came by more than 10 points. The ’82-83 Sixers only outscored their opponents by 6.7 points per 100 possessions, winning only two games by more than 10 points. The ’90-91 Bulls (15-2, +12.6 points per 100 possessions) aren’t far behind the Lakers.

Sekou Smith, It was indeed the most dominating postseason performance in my lifetime. The Sixers were loaded and swept the defending champion Lakers in The Finals. How good or great a team was depended on its parts, how dominant it was depended on the quality of the competition. The 1983 Sixers reached The Finals with an 8-1 record and then swept a championship team. That speaks volumes.

Ian Thomsen, I’ve got to go with Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls. After going 72-10 in the regular season, they won 14 of their first 15 playoff games, including seven straight victories against teams that had won 60 games. Can we forgive them for losing twice in the NBA Finals after seizing a 3-0 lead over the Seattle SuperSonics? We should: That team was unbeatable.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blogJust how old do you think I am? I don’t remember the 1983 Finals, but a 12-1 postseason run, at least on the surface, sure seems dominant. The only other team to me that sticks out as similarly dominant is the 2002 Lakers, who won a title with a 15-4 postseason record.


  1. Coco says:

    Shaq dats all I gotta say

  2. laird mac millan says:

    I don’t know who are the apples and who are the oranges, but you can’t compare the Sixers, Lakers, or Bulls of their respective era. Players today are bigger, stronger and better trained. The season is longer. The playoffs are longer. Benches run deeper. Moses Malone was a force and Dr. J a legend. But unless we could see them head to head, to chose one is to disrespect the others. They were all great!

  3. pokie says:

    The Lakers and Bulls did their damage in the expansion depleted Post Showtime, Post Big Three, Post Bad Boys NBA. That was nothing compared to the Sixers run. The Sixers ran amok thru the toughest playoff era in NBA history in 83′. You guys are tripping.

  4. Mark says:

    The 82-83 Sixers without a doubt. Not only dominant but poised and determined to get to the next level of Eliteness!! Doctor J knew from previous trips that in order to go forward he needed to step back. Moses was the missing piece to form a Championship team like no other in history. This team had a unique composition and a unique coach to make it all happen. I don’t know why there is not multiple championships from this team but basketball is basketball.

  5. Tyler says:

    People forget the 1983 76ers because the next year they were beaten in the 1st round of the playoffs by the unknown New Jersey Nets. One of the only playoff series in NBA history I am aware of where the road team won every game, Philadelphia lost all three times at The Spectrum with Moses Malone, Dr J, and Mo Cheeks. In my opinion that is STILL the greatest upset in NBA history, even more than the times #8 seeds beat #1 seeds. That was the most unpredictable playoff series you could imagine.

  6. michael says:

    1995-1996 Bulls!!!! I don’t care what their win loss record in the playoff was 72-10 speaks for itself, 2001 Lakers 82- 83 Sixers can battle it out for second place