The 1982 Los Angeles Lakers are probably the most forgotten about of the five championship teams of that decade.
The roster was extremely stacked as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the focal point, Magic Johnson was really coming into his own, and a plethora of excellent role players including Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon, and Bob McAdoo filled in all of the gaps.
Due to the circumstances surrounding all of the other Lakers’ rings, this team has fallen under the radar a bit, but they made some history themselves. On May 15, 1982 the Lakers defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 128-123, to end their Western Conference Finals with a four-game sweep.
The Lakers had also swept the Phoenix Suns in the previous round, making them the first team in NBA history to sweep back-to-back seven-game playoff series.
It was truly a team effort on that night as there were six players in double-figures and it was those role players leading the way. Nixon paced the Lakers with 30 points and 10 assists while McAdoo had 26 points and eight assists.
Kareem and Magic were their normal stellar selves as Abdul-Jabbar had 22 points and nine rebounds, while Johnson finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals.
The Lakers definitely needed everything they got to hold off the high-octane Spurs. George Gervin, one of the greatest pure scorers in NBA history, finished with 38 points and Mike Mitchell added 30, but it just wasn’t enough.
L.A. was determined to reclaim their spot as the top team in the league after a disappointing playoff finish the year before. They wanted to establish their dominance and sweeping their way to the NBA Finals before dispatching of the Philadelphia 76ers was the perfect way to do just that.
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