The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics had legendary battles in the 1980s, but during the early part of the decade, the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers had their own serious rivalry. The two sides met in the NBA Finals three times in four season between 1980 and 1983 and with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Julius Erving, the star power was in full force.
A few months before they would meet in the 1982 NBA Finals, the two sides again engaged in a tense meeting at the Great Western Forum on Feb. 26. In the end, Magic and Kareem led L.A. to a hard-fought double overtime win over the Sixers.
Kareem was in rare form as Philadelphia had no one to guard him, and the big man went on to finish with 41 points and 19 rebounds. Magic, meanwhile, notched a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds,and 10 assists.
The Lakers also got 24 points from Jamaal Wilkes to win their sixth straight game. Super-sub Andrew Toney led the 76ers with 27 points, while Dr. J finished with 22 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
The two sides would eventually meet in the NBA Finals and once again the Lakers came out on top, defeating the Sixers in six games, just as they did two years prior. It wouldn’t be until the following year, when the 76ers added Hall of Famer Moses Malone, that they would finally get their revenge on the Lakers on the NBA’s grandest stage.
But on this night in Lakers history, it was Magic and Kareem who were once again unstoppable as they kept the Lakers on the path to their second NBA championship of the decade.
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