Settle the Argument

1982-83 Sixers face '00-01 team in second Strat-O-Matic semifinal

MVP Allen Iverson's team vs. a squad full of Hall of Famers.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Only three teams have ever run through the NBA playoffs with just one loss: The 1982-83 Sixers, 2000-01 Lakers and 2016-17 Warriors.

In the second Strat-O-Matic semifinal simulation of our all-time Sixers teams mini-tournament, the Sixers' ’82-83 and ’00-01 squads happen to square off.

The Larry Brown-led, Allen Iverson-starring Sixers handed that ’00-01 Lakers team its lone postseason defeat. Iverson scored 48 points and unforgettably stepped over Tyronn Lue, Shaquille O’Neal’s 44 points and 20 rebounds weren’t enough, and the Sixers emerged with a stunning overtime win. 

The ’82-83 Sixers added three straight victories following their Game 1 Finals win over the Lakers, sweeping L.A. in a series where MVP Moses Malone averaged 25.8 points and 18 rebounds.

Let’s look at the second semifinal matchup and numbers that stood out from the Strat-O-Matic box scores: 

Game 1: ’00-01 team wins, 106-97 (1-0 series lead)

Serious déjà vu here as Iverson dropped 51 points and got the series off to a shocking start. 

In his real playoff career, Iverson hit the 50-point milestone three times over 71 appearances. Two of those instances came in the ’00-01 Sixers’ seven-game second-round series win over the Raptors.

Julius Erving scored 32 points in Game 1, but Malone (17 points, 25 boards) was the ’82-83 team’s only other double-figure scorer. 

We imagine players like Eric Snow and George Lynch being far healthier in this simulation than during the true ’00-01 Finals boosted that unit's defense, which forced 21 turnovers and limited Andrew Toney to eight points. 

Game 2: ’00-01 teams wins, 96-77 (2-0 series lead) 

Not a bad encore for Iverson, who delivered a 42-point Game 2 performance. 

The ’00-01 Sixers also received a gigantic game from Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo, who had 16 points, 27 rebounds and four blocks. The actual Mutombo’s career playoff rebounding high was 22 in the ’00-01 Sixers’ Round 1, Game 1 defeat to the Pacers.

Meanwhile, Malone had an unfathomable 2-for-19 shooting night. 

2000-01 Sixth Man of the Year Aaron McKie did solid work in Game 2, recording 14 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. 

Game 3: ’82-83 team wins, 118-101 (2-1 series deficit) 

Billy Cunningham’s squad got on track with a much more predictable showing. 

Malone, Erving and Toney all exceeded 20 points. Hall of Fame point guard Mo Cheeks steadied the ship with a 14-point, six-assist, three-steal, zero-turnover outing. 

Toney and Franklin Edwards each sunk three-pointers for the ’82-83 Sixers, their only long-distance makes of the series. The Sixers were 0 for 3 from three-point range in the real ’82-83 Finals.

However, like in the ’66-67 Sixers vs. ’18-19 matchup, the more modern team didn’t have a dramatic three-point advantage. The ’00-01 Sixers shot just 16 for 80 (20 percent) beyond the arc in the series. 

Game 4: ’00-01 team wins, 114-96 (3-1 series lead)

The ’00-01 squad seized the series’ momentum again by playing its usual dogged defense.

Rather incredibly, none of the ’82-83 Sixers reached the 20-point mark; Toney was the high man with 19. The ’00-01 team created 20 turnovers, had a huge edge in fast-break points (28-10), and pulled away late against an opponent full of Hall of Fame talents. 

Iverson didn’t do it all either. On top of The Answer’s 32-point game, McKie scored 25 points and Tyrone Hill had a 17-point, 12-rebound night. 

Game 5: ’82-83 team wins, 121-93 (3-2 series deficit) 

Seven of the ’82-83 Sixers had double-figure scoring games, including inaugural Sixth Man of the Year winner Bobby Jones.

Iverson had his worst game of the series, tallying 16 points on 5-for-29 shooting. Despite the blowout loss, he played 46 minutes. The 11-time All-Star led the NBA in minutes seven times and Brown played him 46.2 per contest during the ’00-01 playoffs.

Game 6: ’82-83 team wins, 119-98 (3-3 series) 

Iverson had a prolific night at the foul line, going 23 for 27, but that’s just about the only Game 6 positive for the ’00-01 team.

Erving’s 28 points and 14 boards led the ’82-83 Sixers and they were superior across the board. 

Game 7: ’82-83 team wins, 95-71 (4-3 series victory )

More of the same in Game 7 and an emphatic conclusion to the series for Malone, who racked up 26 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks.

Iverson couldn’t summon one final heroic game, posting 28 points on 10-for-32 shooting and no assists. His teammates shot 26.9 percent from the floor. 

With all due respect to well-fitting ’00-01 role players such as Snow, Lynch, Hill and Jumaine Jones, the ’82-83 Sixers had a substantially better roster overall and showed that over the series’ final three games. 

Next up: The ’82-83 team takes on the ’66-67 squad in our mini-tournament Finals. 

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