5. Sweeping the Celtics
The 1982-83 season represented a major leap forward for Don Nelson’s Bucks. They may have won more games in the two regular seasons prior, but losses at the first hurdle in the postseason certainly took away much of the luster of those tallies.
In 1983, the Bucks entered their Conference Semi-Finals series against the Celtics with Nelson owning Coach of the Year honors, and Sidney Moncrief having just claimed his first Defensive Player of the Year award.
To make matters even better, the Bucks went on to prevail against the Celtics, marking their first series win in five years and just their second since they lost to Boston in the Finals in 1974.
Still, that isn’t what made this a particularly memorable moment for the Bucks. Instead, it was the fact that they managed to blow by the Celtics in just four games.
No franchise owns a more illustrious playoff history than the Celtics, and yet throughout Boston’s history, they had never been swept in a three or four game series before they matched up with the Bucks in 1983. Additionally, it would be 20 years before they’d be on the wrong end of a 4-0 series scoreline again.
A 56-win season had left the Celtics third in the East, but in playing against a Bucks team equipped with five players whose jerseys now hang from the rafters at Fiserv Forum all of these years later, they faced a very difficult proposition.
Moncrief and Marques Johnson were the real standout duo in averaging over 20 points apiece. Even that formidable pair wouldn’t be enough to stop the 76ers in the Conference Finals, though, as Philadelphia rolled on to the Finals following a 4-1 series victory.