The Doctor approached Jones, asking him to agree to be his target in a closed-door team meeting. Typically, Caldwell consented. The next day C.J. had 10 rebounds and smothered Boston Center Robert Parish, as Philly romped to a 120-106 victory. C.J., normally the most reserved Sixer, was the most exuberant in the locker room afterward. "This is the alltime best!" he yelled. For Caldwell, it would be just that. Philadelphia had made the finals but would lose to L.A. in six games. Then would come the trade for Malone.
The morning after the Sixers swept the Lakers last spring, they flew back to Philadelphia. Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks, Earl Cureton and Edwards drove the few minutes to Caldwell's town house. Cureton, the team's toastmaster, leaped from the car, bounded into the house and, like a punch-drunk Eddie Haskel, helped himself to two cans of beer from the icebox. He cracked both open and gave one to Caldwell. Aluminum kissed aluminum, and Cureton turned to face his teammates. "There," he said. "Now it's official."