Philadelphia 76ers: 15 greatest seasons in franchise history

Moses Malone | Philadelphia 76ers (Photos by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images)
Moses Malone | Philadelphia 76ers (Photos by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images) /

13. 1965-66 season (55-25, lost in div. finals)

As mentioned in the previous slide, success is not linear. But it’s also not spontaneous. There are moments — or, in this case, seasons — that lead up to a breakthrough. Right on the cusp of the Sixers’ 1967 championship was a 55-win campaign.

Behind two all-timers in Wilt Chamberlain and Chet Walker, the Sixers were a dominant force in the Eastern Division. In a league with just nine teams, there was room for rivalries to play out. Philadelphia vs. Boston dominated the decade.

The Sixers won the division. Chamberlain averaged 33.5 points on 54 percent shooting, both league-high marks. Walker made one of his seven All-Star appearances, giving Philadelphia a dynamic threat on multiple levels.

Boston finished only one game behind Philadelphia, however, countering the Sixers’ elite offense with a Bill Russell-led defense. Red Auerbach is a legend for a reason. He coached winners, and the Celtics were a difficult out.

When the postseason game, Boston beat Philadelphia in five games. A four-overtime loss in Game 4 killed the Sixers’ momentum, with Chamberlain’s 41 percent free-throw clip casting a cloud over the series. It was a gut-wrenching defeat against a hated rival.

It obviously provided a spark, though — one the Sixers would act on the next season. Even seasons that end in bitter defeat can bring about positives, and the seasons listed so far are prime examples of that notion.