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|
|League||National Basketball Association|
|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|
|Top draft pick||Kent Benson|
|Picked by||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Top seed||Portland Trail Blazers|
|Season MVP||Bill Walton (Portland)|
|Top scorer||George Gervin (San Antonio)|
|Eastern champions||Washington Bullets|
|Eastern runners-up||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Western champions||Seattle SuperSonics|
|Western runners-up||Denver Nuggets|
|Finals MVP||Wes Unseld (Washington)|
- 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 City 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 won the game's MVP award.
- The defending champion Portland Trail Blazers started with a 50–10 record and looked poised to repeat, but Bill Walton broke his foot and was sidelined 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 sustained serious injuries and missed the rest of the season. The NBA fined Washington $10,000 and suspended him for 26 games.
- 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. The NBA H–O–R–S–E competition would not be re-instituted for 31 more years, returning for 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.
- This was also the last season for longtime Celtics' player John Havlicek, who retired at the end of the season after sixteen years in the NBA all with the legendary franchise.
- With 8 minutes and 43 seconds of the final quarter remaining in the game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks on the 25th of November, the Hawks were leading by 29 points, and looked set for an easy win. The Bucks then outscored the Hawks 35-4 to win the game by two points, 117-115. The Bucks' victory is still the biggest fourth quarter comeback in NBA history.
|Team||1976–77 coach||1977–78 coach|
|Buffalo Braves||Joe Mullaney (interim)||Cotton Fitzsimmons|
|New York Knicks||Red Holzman||Willis Reed|
|Seattle SuperSonics||Bill Russell||Bob Hopkins|
|Team||Outgoing coach||Incoming coach|
|Boston Celtics||Tom Heinsohn||Satch Sanders|
|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|
|x-New York Knicks||43||39||.524||12||29–12||14–27||7–9|
|New Jersey Nets||24||58||.293||31||18–23||6–35||4–12|
|y-San Antonio Spurs||52||30||.634||–||32–9||20–21||15–5|
|New Orleans Jazz||39||43||.476||13||27–14||12–29||8–12|
|Kansas City Kings||31||51||.378||17||22–19||9–32||11–9|
|y-Portland Trail Blazers||58||24||.707||–||36–5||22–19||13–3|
|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|
|2||y-San Antonio Spurs||52||30||.634||3|
|5||x-New York Knicks||43||39||.524||12|
|7||New Orleans Jazz||39||43||.476||16|
|11||New Jersey Nets||24||58||.293||31|
|1||z-Portland Trail Blazers||58||24||.707||–|
|5||x-Los Angeles Lakers||45||37||.549||13|
|7||Golden State Warriors||43||39||.524||15|
|11||Kansas City Kings||31||51||.378||27|
- z, y – division champions
- x – clinched playoff spot
Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.
|First Round||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||NBA Finals|
|E5||New York||2||E5||New York||0|
* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage
|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||.578|
|FT%||Rick Barry||Golden State Warriors||.924|
- Most Valuable Player: Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers
- Rookie of the Year: Walter Davis, Phoenix Suns
- Coach of the Year: Hubie Brown, Atlanta Hawks
Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com