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1977–78 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Duration October 18, 1977 – April 9, 1978
April 11–May 17, 1978 (Playoffs)
May 21–June 7, 1978 (Finals)
Number of games 82
Number of teams 22
TV partner(s) CBS
Draft
Top draft pick Kent Benson
Picked by Milwaukee Bucks
Regular season
Top seed Portland Trail Blazers
Season MVP Bill Walton (Portland)
Top scorer George Gervin (San Antonio)
Playoffs
Eastern champions Washington Bullets
  Eastern runners-up Philadelphia 76ers
Western champions Seattle SuperSonics
  Western runners-up Denver Nuggets
Finals
Champions Washington Bullets
  Runners-up Seattle SuperSonics
Finals MVP Wes Unseld (Washington)
NBA seasons

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.

Notable occurrences[edit]

  • 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 (the first of the numerous major injuries that radically shortened his career) 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
Offseason
Team 1976–77 coach 1977–78 coach
Buffalo Braves Tates Locke Joe Mullaney
New York Knicks Red Holzman Willis Reed
Seattle SuperSonics Bill Russell Bob Hopkins
In-season
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Boston Celtics Tom Heinsohn Satch Sanders
Buffalo Braves Joe Mullaney Cotton Fitzsimmons
Detroit Pistons Herb Brown Bob Kauffman
Kansas City Kings Phil Johnson Larry Staverman
Philadelphia 76ers Gene Shue Billy Cunningham
Seattle SuperSonics Bob Hopkins Lenny Wilkens

Final standings[edit]

By division[edit]

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Philadelphia 76ers 55 27 .671 37–4 18–23 14–2
x-New York Knicks 43 39 .524 12 29–12 14–27 7–9
Boston Celtics 32 50 .390 23 24–17 8–33 8–8
Buffalo Braves 27 55 .329 28 20–21 7–34 7–9
New Jersey Nets 24 58 .293 31 18–23 6–35 4–12


Central Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-San Antonio Spurs 52 30 .634 32–9 20–21 15–5
x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 8 29–12 15–26 14–6
x-Cleveland Cavaliers 43 39 .524 9 27–14 16–25 9–11
x-Atlanta Hawks 41 41 .500 11 29–12 12–29 8–12
New Orleans Jazz 39 43 .476 13 27–14 12–29 8–12
Houston Rockets 28 54 .341 24 21-20 7-34 6–14


Midwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Denver Nuggets 48 34 .585 33–8 15–26 11–9
x-Milwaukee Bucks 44 38 .537 4 28–13 16–25 14–6
Chicago Bulls 40 42 .488 8 29–12 11–30 8–12
Detroit Pistons 38 44 .463 10 24–17 14–27 8–12
Indiana Pacers 31 51 .378 17 21–20 10–31 8–12
Kansas City Kings 31 51 .378 17 22–19 9–32 11–9


Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Portland Trail Blazers 58 24 .707 36–5 22–19 13–3
x-Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598 9 34–7 15–26 8–8
x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 11 31–10 16–25 8–8
x-Los Angeles Lakers 45 37 .549 13 29–12 16–25 6–10
Golden State Warriors 43 39 .524 15 30–11 13–28 5–11


By conference[edit]

# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Philadelphia 76ers 55 27 .671
2 y-San Antonio Spurs 52 30 .634 3
3 x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 11
4 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 43 39 .524 12
5 x-New York Knicks 43 39 .524 12
6 x-Atlanta Hawks 41 41 .500 14
7 New Orleans Jazz 39 43 .476 16
8 Boston Celtics 32 50 .390 23
9 Houston Rockets 28 54 .341 27
10 Buffalo Braves 27 55 .329 28
11 New Jersey Nets 24 58 .293 31


# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Portland Trail Blazers 58 24 .707
2 y-Denver Nuggets 48 34 .585 10
3 x-Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598 9
4 x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 11
5 x-Los Angeles Lakers 45 37 .549 13
6 x-Milwaukee Bucks 44 38 .537 14
7 Golden State Warriors 43 39 .524 15
8 Chicago Bulls 40 42 .488 18
9 Detroit Pistons 38 44 .463 20
10 Indiana Pacers 31 51 .378 27
11 Kansas City Kings 31 51 .378 27



Notes

  • z, y – division champions
  • x – clinched playoff spot

Statistics leaders[edit]

Category Player Team Stat
Points per game George Gervin San Antonio Spurs 27.2
Rebounds per game Truck Robinson New Orleans Jazz 15.7
Assists per game Kevin Porter DetroitNew Jersey 10.2
Steals per game Ron Lee Phoenix Suns 2.74
Blocks per game George Johnson New Jersey Nets 3.38
FG% Bobby Jones Denver Nuggets .578
FT% Rick Barry Golden State Warriors .924

NBA awards[edit]

Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com

References[edit]

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