Winner Take All: A History of Nets Elimination Games

Jason Kidd
Didn’t end as planned. (AP)

April 26, 1984:  Game 5   New Jersey Nets 101, Philadelphia 76ers 98

Moses Malone & Darryl Dawkins. (AP)
After the 1983 season, the NBA expanded the playoff field from 12 to 16 teams. The league also switched the first round to a best-of-five format, replacing the best-of-three. New Jersey did not complain about the switch, as the Nets had been swept 2-0 in each of the franchise’s first three NBA playoff appearances.

The Nets earned the Eastern Conference sixth seed in 1984 after a 45-37 season, squaring off against Dr. J, Moses Malone, and the rest of the NBA defending-champion Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. The Nets surprised the third-seed Sixers by sweeping the first two games in Philly, but then let the Sixers back into the series by blowing games three and four at home.

In the deciding Game 5 at the Spectrum in Philly, the Nets and Sixers ended the third quarter tied at 76. With the help of Michael Ray Richardson’s game high 24 points, the Nets outscored the Sixers by three in the fourth quarter to earn their first NBA franchise playoff series victory.  Buck Williams would also contribute 17 points and 16 rebounds to the cause.

The Nets would then lose in the second round to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. While Brandon Jennings would love to take credit for that prediction, he wouldn’t be born for another five years.

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