Significant changes were made prior to the 1983-84 season. David Stern, who had been the NBA’s Executive Vice President, had taken over the role of Commissioner with the retirement of Larry O’Brien. Under Stern’s watchful eye, the NBA would continually expand, and the NBA would become one of the most popular sports league in the world thanks to his marketing vision.
On the court, the league’s playoff format was revamped, and expanded to include 16 teams (8 from each Conference). Each of the Divisional winners would no longer receive byes, and thus a team would now have to win four playoff series to become the champions.
During the regular season, the Celtics (62-20) reasserted themselves as the most dominant team in the East, and it appeared the Sixers (52-30) had tailed off. In fact, the Sixers were severely upset in the first round of the Playoffs against New Jersey (45-37). The Celtics would advance to meet Milwaukee (50-32) in the Eastern Conference Finals, and easily disposed of them in 5 games to make another appearance in the NBA Finals.
The Lakers (54-28) were the class of the Western Conference, and easily outmatched their opponents in the playoffs to advance to another showdown with the Celtics in what would be the first of three classic Lakers-Celtics NBA finals. For years afterward, the Lakers would rue the title that got away from them. The Lakers won the first game in Boston, and led Game 2 115-113 with 18 seconds left and possession of the ball. However, an errant pass by Worth led to it being intercepted and a lay up to tie the score. Boston then prevailed in overtime. The Lakers came back hard the next game in LA and easily won Game 3. In Game 4, Boston became more physical to slow down the Showtime attack, and the Lakers were visibly shaken. Boston won that game in overtime. Continuing its rough and physical play on the Lakers, and won Game 5. Los Angeles retaliated to win Game 6, setting up a decisive Game 7. ...