This week’s star goes to rookie Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who quietly turned himself into an NBA player. After not playing a single minute in 13 of the 76ers first 41 games, it appeared as if the young man might never develop into a quality role player yet alone a starter. However, the forward’s diligent hard work paid off and it now appears he has a bright NBA future.
Luwawu-Cabarrot started the final 17 games of the season, and scored a career high 24 points in the final home game of the year. The rookie also set a new career mark with eight made field goals, and tied his career high in made threes with four, in the 120 – 111 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
In the 114 – 113 season finale loss to the New York Knicks, Timothe tallied 14 points. The guard finished the season strong reaching double-figures in eight of the season’s final nine games. Such an impressive finish after such a challenging beginning is commendable for the Frenchman.
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April Fools….Part Deux!
The season is now mercifully over, and with it another losing campaign has ended as well. Philadelphia finished the month 0 – 6 and considering they opened the year 4 – 16 through its first 20 games, that should not be a surprise to anyone.
Just to reiterate from last week’s post “This should be nothing new for NBA fans in this area. April has not been kind to the 76ers. Philly has experienced 10 straight losing Aprils to accompany five straight losing seasons.”
With yet another off-season uninterrupted by a postseason it seems that fans have become accustomed to such results.
THIS WEEK IN 1982 – 83 (THE CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR):
Philadelphia finished up the year 2 – 3, losing three of their last four, playing without league M.V.P Moses Malone (tendinitis). The 76ers ended the season with the franchise’s second best record (65 – 17), and Malone became only the third player in the club’s illustrious history (at the time) to win the league’s M.V.P award. Yet, none of the mattered as the 1982 – 1983 season was all about the winning a ‘chip.
The playoffs began with Philly on a bye, and receiving a seven day break, before taking the court against the New York Knicks. Philly won the regular season series 5-to-1 and made quick work of the division foe, sweeping the series. The Knicks kept it close, losing by an average of 5.5, but Moses proved his worth. The center set the tone in game one with a 38 point, 17 rebound performance, for the series Malone would average 31.2 points and 15.5 rebounds.
The next round would bring in the Milwaukee Bucks and their physical 6’11 center Bob Lanier. The Bucks would avoid being swept, winning game three 100 – 94, and Lanier would end his career in spirited fashion holding Malone to an average of 22 points and 14 rebounds per. Nevertheless, a scorching game five first quarter from guard Andrew Toney, who dropped 14 points in the quarter and had 20 by halftime, would thrust the Sixers to their third NBA Finals appearance in four years.
The Finals ended officially on May 31, 1983, but unofficially the series ended the moment Philly took the court on May 22, 1983. Dr. J and crew would not be denied this time. Malone outrebounded the entire Los Angeles frontcourt 18-to-15 and the trio of Erving, Toney and Malone combined for 72 of the clubs 113 in the game one victory. The opening game served as the closet L.A. came to beating the 76ers, losing 113 – 107. Philly won game two 103 – 93, game three 111 – 94 and game four 115 – 108 en route to their first NBA title since 1967.
Before the playoffs began Malone was in pain. Suffering from fluid in his knee, or tendinitis depending who was asked, the center would get 14 days of rest prior to taking the floor against the Knicks. During that time the highest paid player in professional sports (at the time) was asked how he thought Philadelphia would fair in the postseason. The Hall-of-Famer uttered one of the greatest quotes in sports history in response “fo’ fo’ an’ fo”. Now time has recounted the statement and relived the championship years, but just how marvelous Malone was during that championship run has become an afterthought.
The Virginia native led the team in scoring 11 of the 13 contests that postseason, and never had less than 12 boards in a game. During the playoffs the Philadelphia forward registered 26 points and an astounding 16 boards per. In the Finals his rebounding went from 16 a night to 18 a night, to go along with those same 26 points per.
When “Mozilla” arrived in the city expectations were high, and he responded. The big man played the most minutes on the team that year, and never scored less than 11 points all season. In total the “Chairman of the Boards” played in 91 games and managed to grab 10 or more rebounds in 87 of them.
The 76ers went from perennial contender to champion in one year because of Moses. The big’s tenacity and workman like effort embodied a city like no other. Thank you Mr. Chairman, and may rest in paradise.
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