7. Darryl Dawkins vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Nov. 5, 1983
Darryl Dawkins was an enigma, at the same time mega-talented, often less-than-focused and always fun-loving, as evidenced by the long line of self-given nicknames and his claim to be from the planet “Lovetron.”
He was the NBA’s first high-school-to-pros player in the modern era, going fifth overall to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1975 NBA Draft. He never emerged as a star in Philadelphia and he was eventually traded to the New Jersey Nets as the 76ers made room for Moses Malone.
Sir Charles In Charge
Both the Nets and the defending champion 76ers game into the Nov. 5, 1983, matchup at Brendan Byne Arena with 3-1 records and after an early surge by New Jersey, Philadelphia got a working lead and held on for a 119-112 win.
Their margin might have been much larger had Dawkins not decided this was the night for a block party in East Rutherford.
Dawkins played 41 minutes, avoiding the foul trouble that regularly plagued him, and went for a career-high and franchise-record 13 blocked shots.
The primary target of the blocks was Malone, the three-time MVP. Malone finished the night with 27 points, but he did it on a sub-par 8-for-22 shooting performance.
For his part, Dawkins had 17 points, eight rebounds and two steals along with the 13 blocks, going 7-of-13. Albert King paced the Nets with 23 points and 13 boards, while Julius Erving tormented his former club with 32 points.
The 1983-84 season would prove to be Dawkins’ best as a pro, as he averaged 16.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 29.8 minutes per game, shooting .593/2-for-5/.735. He would be plagued by back problems and off-the-court personal difficulties over his remaining five seasons.