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1981-82 NBA season

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Title: 1981-82 NBA season  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Isiah Thomas, Darryl Dawkins, Bill Laimbeer, Kevin McHale (basketball), Billy Cunningham, Danny Schayes, Bulls–Knicks rivalry, Steve Johnson (basketball)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

1981-82 NBA season

1981–82 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Duration October 30, 1981 – April 18, 1982
April 20 – May 23, 1982 (Playoffs)
May 27 – June 8, 1982 (Finals)
Number of teams 23
TV partner(s) CBS, USA
Top draft pick Mark Aguirre
Picked by Dallas Mavericks
Regular season
Top seed Boston Celtics
Season MVP Moses Malone (Houston)
Top scorer George Gervin (San Antonio)
Eastern champions Philadelphia 76ers
  Eastern runners-up Boston Celtics
Western champions Los Angeles Lakers
  Western runners-up San Antonio Spurs
Finals champions Los Angeles Lakers
  Runners-up Philadelphia 76ers
Finals MVP Magic Johnson (Los Angeles)
NBA seasons

The 1981–82 NBA season was the 36th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.

Notable occurrences

Coaching changes
Team 1980-81 coach 1981-82 coach
Atlanta Hawks Mike Fratello Kevin Loughery
Cleveland Cavaliers Don Delaney Bob Kloppenburg
New Jersey Nets Bob MacKinnon Larry Brown
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Chicago Bulls Jerry Sloan Phil Johnson
Phil Johnson Rod Thorn
Cleveland Cavaliers Bob Kloppenburg Chuck Daly
Chuck Daly Bill Musselman
Los Angeles Lakers Paul Westhead Pat Riley
Utah Jazz Tom Nissalke Frank Layden
  • The regular-season ran until mid to late-April for the first time.
  • The 1982 NBA All-Star Game was played at the new Brendan Byrne Arena (now the Izod Center) in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with the East defeating the West 120–118. Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics wins the game's MVP award. This season also marked the New Jersey Nets first season in the new arena.
  • On March 6, 1982, San Antonio beat Milwaukee 171-166 in three overtime periods to set the record for most points by two teams in a game. The record was broken two seasons later.
  • Magic Johnson secures his second NBA Finals MVP award several months before his 23rd birthday.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers begin a string of nine consecutive seasons as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
  • The Denver Nuggets scored at least 100 points in every single game of the season, the only time this has occurred in NBA history.
  • After a few years of success in NCAA basketball, the breakaway rim became standardized equipment in the NBA.

Final standings

By division

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Boston Celtics 63 19 .768 35–6 28–13 20–4
x-Philadelphia 76ers 58 24 .707 5.0 32–9 26–15 16–8
x-New Jersey Nets 44 38 .537 19.0 25–16 19–22 12–12
x-Washington Bullets 43 39 .524 20.0 22–19 21–20 7–17
New York Knicks 33 49 .402 30.0 19–22 14–27 5–19

By conference


  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs and first round bye
  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs and first round bye
  • y – Clinched division title and first round bye
  • x – Clinched playoff spot


Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.

Main article: 1982 NBA Playoffs
  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
  1  Los Angeles 4  
    5  Phoenix 0  
4  Denver 1
5  Phoenix 2  
  1  Los Angeles 4  
Western Conference
  2  San Antonio 0  
3  Seattle 2  
6  Houston 1  
  3  Seattle 1
    2  San Antonio 4  
  W1  Los Angeles 4
  E3  Philadelphia 2
  1  Boston 4
    5  Washington 1  
4  New Jersey 0
5  Washington 2  
  1  Boston 3
Eastern Conference
  3  Philadelphia 4  
3  Philadelphia 2  
6  Atlanta 0  
  3  Philadelphia 4
    2  Milwaukee 2  

Statistics leaders

Category Player Team Stat
Points per game George Gervin San Antonio Spurs 32.3
Rebounds per game Moses Malone Houston Rockets 14.7
Assists per game Johnny Moore San Antonio Spurs 9.6
Steals per game Magic Johnson Los Angeles Lakers 2.7
Blocks per game George Johnson San Antonio Spurs 3.1
FG% Artis Gilmore Chicago Bulls 65.2
FT% Kyle Macy Phoenix Suns 89.9
3FG% Campy Russell New York Knicks 43.9

NBA awards

Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on

See also

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