After winning the title in 1983 (and going 12-1 in the playoffs), Dr. J and the Sixers were favorites to repeat in ’84, but they encountered an upstart Nets team. The Nets had never won a playoff game, but they were young, quick, athletic, hungry, and unfazed by the moment. Behind Buck Williams, Albert King, and Michael Ray Richardson, New Jersey won the best-of-five series in a classic Game 5.
A loaded Philly team, which boasted Malone and Maurice Cheeks (who was recently announced as a Class of 2018 Hall of Famer) in addition to Irving, collapsed. New Jersey claimed the decisive game, 101-98, on Philadelphia’s home court.