An old dog, a new trickster and birth of 'Showtime'
"Showtime" began as 20-year-old rookie Magic Johnson inspired this talented team to first in the Pacific Division. After four close games in the Finals, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 33, turned in a 40-point performance in Game 5 despite spraining his ankle. With Abdul-Jabbar out, Johnson stepped up in Game 6 with 42 points and 15 rebounds.
The Team: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, Magic Johnson, Norm Nixon, Jim Chones, Spencer Haywood, Michael Cooper, Mark Landsberger, Ron Boone, Kenny Carr, Don Ford, Brad Holland, Marty Byrnes, Ollie Mack, Butch Lee.
The Coach: Jack McKinney/Paul Westhead
Season record: 60-22
Playoff record: 12-4
Lakers 4, Philadelphia 76ers 2
A nascent dynasty finds renewed life with Riley
The Lakers came into the season smarting from a surprising loss to Houston in the first round of the 1981 playoffs. With Johnson back from a knee injury and the additions of Coach Pat Riley and sixth man Bob McAdoo, the Lakers swept Phoenix and San Antonio (average margin of victory, 11 points) in going 12-2 in the playoffs.
The Team: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, Magic Johnson, Norm Nixon, Mitch Kupchak, Michael Cooper, Bob McAdoo, Mike McGee, Kurt Rambis, Mark Landsberger, Eddie Jordan, Clay Johnson, Jim Brewer, Kevin McKenna.
The Coach: Paul Westhead/Pat Riley
Season record: 57-25
Playoff record: 12-2