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1977–78 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
TV partner/s CBS
Regular season
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
Finals champions Washington Bullets
Runners-up Seattle SuperSonics
Finals MVP Wes Unseld (Washington)

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

  • The New York Nets move from Uniondale, New York to Piscataway, New Jersey, and are renamed the New Jersey Nets.
  • The 1978 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia, 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.
  • 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, Bob McAdoo, Kevin Grevey, and George Gervin. Maravich won the contest, but H–O–R–S–E featuring NBA players would not be re-instituted for 31 more years (until the 2009 All-Star Weekend).

Final standings

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Philadelphia 76ers 55 27 .671 -
New York Knicks 43 39 .524 12
Boston Celtics 32 50 .390 23
Buffalo Braves 27 55 .329 28
New Jersey Nets 24 58 .293 31
Central Division
Team W L PCT. GB
San Antonio Spurs 52 30 .634 -
Washington Bullets C 44 38 .537 8
Cleveland Cavaliers 43 39 .524 9
Atlanta Hawks 41 41 .500 11
New Orleans Jazz 39 43 .476 13
Houston Rockets 28 54 .341 24

Western Conference

Midwest Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Denver Nuggets 48 34 .585 -
Milwaukee Bucks 44 38 .537 4
Chicago Bulls 40 42 .488 8
Detroit Pistons 38 44 .463 10
Indiana Pacers 31 51 .378 17
Kansas City Kings 31 51 .378 17
Pacific Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Portland Trail Blazers 58 24 .707 -
Phoenix Suns 49 33 .598 9
Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 11
Los Angeles Lakers 45 37 .549 13
Golden State Warriors 43 39 .524 15

C - NBA Champions

Statistics leaders

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 Detroit-New 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 57.8
FT% Rick Barry Golden State Warriors 92.4

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 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

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