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1977–78 NBA season

1977–78 NBA season

The 1977–78 NBA season was the 32nd season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Washington Bullets winning the NBA Championship, beating the Seattle SuperSonics 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals.

1977–78 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
DurationOctober 18, 1977 – April 9, 1978
April 11–May 17, 1978 (Playoffs)
May 21–June 7, 1978 (Finals)
Number of games82
Number of teams22
TV partner(s)CBS
Top draft pickKent Benson
Picked byMilwaukee Bucks
Regular season
Top seedPortland Trail Blazers
Season MVPBill Walton (Portland)
Top scorerGeorge Gervin (San Antonio)
Eastern championsWashington Bullets
  Eastern runners-upPhiladelphia 76ers
Western championsSeattle SuperSonics
  Western runners-upDenver Nuggets
ChampionsWashington Bullets
  Runners-upSeattle SuperSonics
Finals MVPWes Unseld (Washington)

Notable occurrences

  • The New York Nets moved from Uniondale, New York to Piscataway, New Jersey, and were renamed the New Jersey Nets. The New York Knicks, who forced the Nets to pay $4.8 million for invading the New York area prior to the previous season, remained the only NBA team in New York for 35 years, until the Nets moved to Brooklyn in the 2012–13 season.

  • The 1978 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, with the East beating the West 133-125. Randy Smith of the Buffalo Braves wins the game's MVP award.

  • The defending champion Portland Trail Blazers went off to a 50–10 start and looked poised to repeat, but Bill Walton broke his foot and was out for the remainder of the season. The Blazers, hurt by Walton's absence and by other key injuries, faded to an 8–14 finish and lost to the Sonics in the Western Conference semifinals.

  • On December 9, 1977, Kermit Washington punched Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich in the face during an NBA game. Tomjanovich was seriously injured and missed the rest of the season. Washington was subsequently fined $10,000 and suspended 26 games by the NBA.

  • Throughout the 1977–78 season, CBS broadcast NBA games during the regular season and the playoffs. During halftime of those games, they showed a pre-taped H–O–R–S–E tournament pitting players from the NBA against each other. It featured, among others, Pete Maravich, Paul Westphal, Bob McAdoo, Kevin Grevey, and George Gervin. Maravich and Westphal made it to the final, and CBS originally planned to hold their match at halftime during an NBA Finals game. However, Maravich was injured and could not participate, so CBS decided to have Westphal compete against "Bag-Man" (who was actually analyst Rick Barry with a bag covering his head) by letting them both shoot a free throw. Westphal, blindfolded, went first and hit his. Barry missed, and Westphal was awarded the trophy. H–O–R–S–E featuring NBA players would not be re-instituted for 31 more years (until the 2009 All-Star Weekend).

  • This was the first season since the 1949–50 season that no Boston Celtics player was named to either the First or Second All-NBA Team.

Coaching changes
Team1976–77 coach1977–78 coach
Buffalo BravesTates LockeJoe Mullaney
New York KnicksRed HolzmanWillis Reed
Seattle SuperSonicsBill RussellBob Hopkins
TeamOutgoing coachIncoming coach
Boston CelticsTom HeinsohnSatch Sanders
Buffalo BravesJoe MullaneyCotton Fitzsimmons
Detroit PistonsHerb BrownBob Kauffman
Kansas City KingsPhil JohnsonLarry Staverman
Philadelphia 76ersGene ShueBilly Cunningham
Seattle SuperSonicsBob HopkinsLenny Wilkens

Final standings

By division

Atlantic DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Philadelphia 76ers5527.67137–418–2314–2
x-New York Knicks4339.5241229–1214–277–9
Boston Celtics3250.3902324–178–338–8
Buffalo Braves2755.3292820–217–347–9
New Jersey Nets2458.2933118–236–354–12
Central DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-San Antonio Spurs5230.63432–920–2115–5
x-Washington Bullets4438.537829–1215–2614–6
x-Cleveland Cavaliers4339.524927–1416–259–11
x-Atlanta Hawks4141.5001129–1212–298–12
New Orleans Jazz3943.4761327–1412–298–12
Houston Rockets2854.3412421-207-346–14
Midwest DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Denver Nuggets4834.58533–815–2611–9
x-Milwaukee Bucks4438.537428–1316–2514–6
Chicago Bulls4042.488829–1211–308–12
Detroit Pistons3844.4631024–1714–278–12
Indiana Pacers3151.3781721–2010–318–12
Kansas City Kings3151.3781722–199–3211–9
Pacific DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Portland Trail Blazers5824.70736–522–1913–3
x-Phoenix Suns4933.598934–715–268–8
x-Seattle SuperSonics4735.5731131–1016–258–8
x-Los Angeles Lakers4537.5491329–1216–256–10
Golden State Warriors4339.5241530–1113–285–11

By conference

Eastern Conference
1z-Philadelphia 76ers5527.671
2y-San Antonio Spurs5230.6343
3x-Washington Bullets4438.53711
4x-Cleveland Cavaliers4339.52412
5x-New York Knicks4339.52412
6x-Atlanta Hawks4141.50014
7New Orleans Jazz3943.47616
8Boston Celtics3250.39023
9Houston Rockets2854.34127
10Buffalo Braves2755.32928
11New Jersey Nets2458.29331

Western Conference
1z-Portland Trail Blazers5824.707
2y-Denver Nuggets4834.58510
3x-Phoenix Suns4933.5989
4x-Seattle SuperSonics4735.57311
5x-Los Angeles Lakers4537.54913
6x-Milwaukee Bucks4438.53714
7Golden State Warriors4339.52415
8Chicago Bulls4042.48818
9Detroit Pistons3844.46320
10Indiana Pacers3151.37827
11Kansas City Kings3151.37827


  • z, y – division champions

  • x – clinched playoff spot

Statistics leaders

Points per gameGeorge GervinSan Antonio Spurs27.2
Rebounds per gameTruck RobinsonNew Orleans Jazz15.7
Assists per gameKevin PorterDetroit–New Jersey10.2
Steals per gameRon LeePhoenix Suns2.74
Blocks per gameGeorge JohnsonNew Jersey Nets3.38
FG%Bobby JonesDenver Nuggets.578
FT%Rick BarryGolden State Warriors.924

NBA awards

  • Most Valuable Player: Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers

  • Rookie of the Year: Walter Davis, Phoenix Suns

  • Coach of the Year: Hubie Brown, Atlanta Hawks

  • All-NBA First Team: Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers Truck Robinson, New Orleans Jazz Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs David Thompson, Denver Nuggets

  • All-NBA Second Team: Walter Davis, Phoenix Suns Maurice Lucas, Portland Trail Blazers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers Paul Westphal, Phoenix Suns Pete Maravich, New Orleans Jazz

  • All-NBA Rookie Team: Bernard King, New Jersey Nets Marques Johnson, Milwaukee Bucks Jack Sikma, Seattle SuperSonics Norm Nixon, Los Angeles Lakers Walter Davis, Phoenix Suns

  • NBA All-Defensive First Team: Bobby Jones, Denver Nuggets Maurice Lucas, Portland Trail Blazers Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers Lionel Hollins, Portland Trail Blazers Don Buse, Phoenix Suns

  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team: E.C. Coleman, Golden State Warriors Bob Gross, Portland Trail Blazers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers (tie) Artis Gilmore, Chicago Bulls (tie) Norm Van Lier, Chicago Bulls Quinn Buckner, Milwaukee Bucks

*Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com [1] *


Citation Linkwww.nba.comNBA.com
Sep 25, 2019, 11:31 PM
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Sep 25, 2019, 11:31 PM