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1978–79 NBA season

1978–79 NBA season

The 1978–79 NBA season was the 33rd season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Seattle SuperSonics winning the NBA Championship, beating the Washington Bullets 4 games to 1 in the NBA Finals, a rematch of the previous year's Finals, but with the opposite result.

1978–79 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
DurationOctober 13, 1978 – April 8, 1979
April 10–May 18, 1979 (Playoffs)
May 20–June 1, 1979 (Finals)
Number of games82
Number of teams22
TV partner(s)CBS
Top draft pickMychal Thompson
Picked byPortland Trail Blazers
Regular season
Season MVPMoses Malone (Houston)
Top scorerGeorge Gervin (San Antonio)
Eastern championsWashington Bullets
  Eastern runners-upSan Antonio Spurs
Western championsSeattle SuperSonics
  Western runners-upPhoenix Suns
ChampionsSeattle SuperSonics
  Runners-upWashington Bullets
Finals MVPDennis Johnson (Seattle)

Notable occurrences

  • The Buffalo Braves moved from Buffalo, New York to San Diego, California and became the San Diego Clippers, shifting from the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference to the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.

  • The Detroit Pistons changed conferences, moving from the Midwest Division of the Western Conference to the Central Division of the Eastern Conference, where they remain today.

  • The Washington Bullets shifted from the Central Division to the Atlantic Division. The franchise also won its last division title until the 2016-17 season.

  • The NBA adopted a three-official system similar to the one used in college basketball on a one-year trial basis. The experiment is scrapped for the 1979–80 season, but returns permanently in 1988–89.

  • The 1979 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, with the West defeating the East 134–129 in overtime. David Thompson of the Denver Nuggets won the game's MVP award.

  • The Jazz played their final season in New Orleans, Louisiana, before moving to Salt Lake City. It would be 23 years before New Orleans received another NBA franchise.

  • The Los Angeles Lakers play their final season under the ownership of Jack Kent Cooke.

  • This was the last time both conference finals went to a deciding Game 7 until 2018.

Coaching changes
Team1977–78 coach1978–79 coach
Chicago BullsEd BadgerLarry Costello
Scotty Robertson
Detroit PistonsBob KauffmanDick Vitale
Kansas City KingsLarry StavermanCotton Fitzsimmons
TeamOutgoing coachIncoming coach
Boston CelticsSatch SandersDave Cowens
Chicago BullsLarry CostelloScotty Robertson
Denver NuggetsLarry BrownDonnie Walsh
New York KnicksWillis ReedRed Holzman

Final standings

By division

Atlantic DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Washington Bullets5428.65931–1023–1811–5
x-Philadelphia 76ers4735.573731–1016–259–7
x-New Jersey Nets3745.4511725–1612–297–9
New York Knicks3151.3782323–188–337–9
Boston Celtics2953.3542521–208–336–10
Central DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-San Antonio Spurs4834.58529–1219–2211–9
x-Houston Rockets4735.573130–1117–2412–8
x-Atlanta Hawks4636.561234–712–2914–6
Cleveland Cavaliers3052.3661820–2110–316–14
Detroit Pistons3052.3661822–198–339–11
New Orleans Jazz2656.3172221–208–339–15
Midwest DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Kansas City Kings4834.58532–916–2512–4
x-Denver Nuggets4735.573129–1218–238–8
Indiana Pacers3844.4631025–1613–286–10
Milwaukee Bucks3844.4631028–1310–319–7
Chicago Bulls3151.3781719–2212–295–11
Pacific DivisionWLPCTGBHomeRoadDiv
y-Seattle SuperSonics5230.63431-1021-2011–9
x-Phoenix Suns5032.610232–918–2311–9
x-Los Angeles Lakers4735.573531–1016–2511–9
x-Portland Trail Blazers4537.549733–812–298–12
San Diego Clippers4339.524929–1214–2711–9
Golden State Warriors3844.4631423–1815–268–12

By conference

Eastern Conference
1z-Washington Bullets5428.659
2y-San Antonio Spurs4834.5856
3x-Philadelphia 76ers4735.5737
4x-Houston Rockets4735.5737
5x-Atlanta Hawks4636.5618
6x-New Jersey Nets3745.45117
7New York Knicks3151.37823
8Cleveland Cavaliers3052.36624
8Detroit Pistons3052.36624
10Boston Celtics2953.35425
11New Orleans Jazz2656.31728

Western Conference
1z-Seattle SuperSonics5230.634
2y-Kansas City Kings4834.5854
3x-Phoenix Suns5032.6102
4x-Denver Nuggets4735.5735
5x-Los Angeles Lakers4735.5735
6x-Portland Trail Blazers4537.5497
7San Diego Clippers4339.5249
8Indiana Pacers3844.46314
9Milwaukee Bucks3844.46314
10Golden State Warriors3844.46314
11Chicago Bulls3151.37821


  • z, y – division champions

  • x – clinched playoff spot

Statistics leaders

Points per gameGeorge GervinSan Antonio Spurs29.6
Rebounds per gameMoses MaloneHouston Rockets17.6
Assists per gameKevin PorterDetroit Pistons13.4
Steals per gameM.L. CarrDetroit Pistons2.46
Blocks per gameKareem Abdul-JabbarLos Angeles Lakers3.95
FG%Cedric MaxwellBoston Celtics.584
FT%Rick BarryHouston Rockets.947

NBA awards

  • Most Valuable Player: Moses Malone, Houston Rockets

  • Rookie of the Year: Phil Ford, Kansas City Kings

  • Coach of the Year: Cotton Fitzsimmons, Kansas City Kings

  • All-NBA First Team: Paul Westphal, Phoenix Suns George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs Moses Malone, Houston Rockets Marques Johnson, Milwaukee Bucks Elvin Hayes, Washington Bullets

  • All-NBA Second Team: Walter Davis, Phoenix Suns Bob Dandridge, Washington Bullets Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers Lloyd Free, San Diego Clippers Phil Ford, Kansas City Kings

  • All-NBA Rookie Team: Mychal Thompson, Portland Trail Blazers Terry Tyler, Detroit Pistons Ron Brewer, Portland Trail Blazers Reggie Theus, Chicago Bulls Phil Ford, Kansas City Kings

  • NBA All-Defensive First Team: Bobby Jones, Philadelphia 76ers Bobby Dandridge, Washington Bullets Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers Dennis Johnson, Seattle SuperSonics Don Buse, Phoenix Suns

  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team: Maurice Lucas, Portland Trail Blazers M. L. Carr, Detroit Pistons Moses Malone, Houston Rockets Lionel Hollins, Portland Trail Blazers Eddie Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

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


Citation Linkwww.nba.comNBA.com
Sep 24, 2019, 8:19 PM
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Sep 24, 2019, 8:19 PM