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1977 NBA Season – Blazermania

June 7, 2013

cowens dr j

The ABA and NBA now were combined for 1977 *photo courtesy of Bleacher Report

With the merger between the ABA and the NBA, the NBA would be getting many new players with only 4 new teams.  So many teams had many ‘number one options.’  Nobody won more than 53 games in 1977 while only one team lost less than 30 games.  In the middle of all this was Julius Erving.  Erving was sold to the Philadelphia 76ers and suddenly they had 3 guys who could be number one options on many teams in 1977 (Erving, George McGinnis, and Doug Collins.. with the fourth ‘number one option possibly being World B. Free).  Meanwhile, Doc’s old team was the only one who finished below 30 wins (the New York Nets won 22 games and moved to New Jersey next season).

With this infusion of talent, the top teams from 1976 didn’t improve.  Boston went from winning 54 games to winning 44.  The Celtics couldn’t reach terms with Paul Silas and traded him to the Denver Nuggets in a three-team deal that landed Curtis Rowe in Boston.  The Celtics also acquired Sidney Wicks from Portland.  While Rowe and Wicks were athletic players who played under John Wooden at UCLA, they were not the rugged rebounders to help out Cowens that Silas was.  They also showed off the selfishness of players who either had or wanted big money.  With these two factors in mind, Cowens ended up losing his zest for the game and ‘retiring’ for 30 games and driving a cab around Boston.

The Celtics would still finish 4th in the East as Cowens did return.  But they went out to top seed Philadelphia in a 7-game battle in the East Semifinals.  Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers went from 49 wins and a 2 seed in 1976 to 43 and a 6 seed (which for the first time ever made the playoffs).  The Cavs had virtually the same team but bowed out to the Washington Bullets as they got their revenge for the Miracle at Richfield.  The Bullets still had Elvin Hayes, Wes Unseld, and Phil Chenier but would win the same number of games in 1977 as they did in 1976 (48).  They would be beaten in the Semifinals by the 49-win Houston Rockets.  The Rockets had added number 1 pick John Lucas to a roster that included Rudy Tomjanovich, Calvin Murphy, and Mike Newlin.  Then early in the season, they got a very talented young player that had bounced around since being drafted by the ABA right out of high school.

Moses Malone had been drafted by the Portland Trailblazers from the defunct St. Louis Spirits in the dispersal draft.  But even though Malone would have at least served as a nice backup for the often-injured Bill Walton, the Blazers were basically using Malone as trade bait.  They did trade him to the Buffalo Braves for a draft pick.  He played in 2 games for the Braves before being traded to Houston for draft picks 6 days after Buffalo had acquired him.  Malone struggled a bit that first year but would eventually become a big factor in the NBA.

The Blazers had also drafted Kentucky Colonels’ Maurice Lucas in the dispersal draft with the second pick.  The Blazers had traded star forward Geoff Petrie to Atlanta to get that pick.  Lucas would prove to be the physical presence that could protect Bill Walton.  Portland would develop a full roster of complimentary players (names like Bob Gross, Dave Twardzik, Lionel Hollins, Johnny Davis, Herm Gilliam, Lloyd Neal, Larry Steele, Robin Jones, Corky Calhoun, and Wally Walker) that would contribute along with Walton and Lucas and lead the Blazers to their first ever playoff appearance with 49 wins and a 3 seed.  They would beat the Chicago Bulls 2-1 in the Quarterfinals.  The Bulls had drafted Artis Gilmore in the dispersal draft with the number 1 pick and had recovered from a 23-32 pre-All-Star break record to finish 44-38.

The Blazers then upset the 50-32 Denver Nuggets in the Semifinals in 6 games.  The Nuggets had returned the key players (minus Ralph Simpson) from the 1976 ABA finalist team.  They were led by David Thompson, Dan Issel, Bobby Jones and coach Larry Brown.  The Blazers countered the Nuggets attack with balanced scoring.  Their starting five of Lucas, Walton, Gross, Hollins, and Twardzik averaged in double figures for the series.  Point guard Twardzik ended up spraining his ankle severely in Game 5 and rookie Johnny Davis ended up emerging.

Meanwhile, in the other Western Semifinal the top team in 1976 was taking on the top team in 1977.  The Golden State Warriors hadn’t changed much from 1976 to 1977 but went from 59 wins to 46.  Their only major change was trading backup center and shotblocker George Johnson for a draft pick mid-way through the season.  This allowed a rookie named Robert Parish to emerge.  Meanwhile, the other surprise along with Portland in the west was the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Lakers had vaulted to 53 wins.  At first look, the roster for new coach Jerry West seemed to only feature Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and a bunch of role players.  The Lakers had lost Gail Goodrich to free agency.  They had acquired former Celtic Don Chaney from the ABA to go along with veterans Lucius Allen and Cazzie Russell.  Powerful Kermit Washington had emerged before he was lost for the season with a knee injury.  Rookie Earl Tatum and 2nd year man Don Ford would be a factor as well.

For the next few years (1977-1981 to start) there are games that have been on Youtube and that I hope return to Youtube so I can download them (along with others I can only assume).  For 1977, the games I had in a playlist but haven’t downloaded before they were removed were Game 3 and Game 5 of the West Semifinals between Portland and Denver as well as Game 6 of the East Semifinals between Houston and Washington and New Orleans/NY Knicks where Pistol Pete scored 68 points.  Also if someone has the full game of Game 3 between the Blazers and Bulls from that year or Game 1 between the 76ers and Celtics (what an ending! Jo Jo White hits game-winner just before the clock gets to zero).  So if someone has those, you’d be awesome if you put those games back onto Youtube (hoping of course you don’t or haven’t gotten a penalty for uploading full games..).  But one must celebrate what we have so without further ado for 1977, 10 of the 24 All-Stars, as well as 5 of the 10 starters, were former ABAers and the contrast came out in the All-Star Game.

February 13, 1977 – NBA All-Star Game at Milwaukee: West 125, East 124

The West got off to a slow start as 3 of the starters voted on by fans (I’m assuming Danver fans voted in droves for Thompson, Issel and Bobby Jones to be in the starting lineup) combined for 4 points.  Issel ended the game scoreless while Jones and Norm Van Lier each had a deuce.  The East had three Philadelphia starters (Erving, McGinnis and Collins) and got to a 34-23 lead after one quarter led by Erving and Bob McAdoo (now of the New York Knicks).  The West cut that lead to 42-33 when Paul Westphal (the other starting guard) hit a hook shot and then got a steal and layup.  Westphal then got another layup off a Maurice Lucas steal and the lead was suddenly 3 points.  But McAdoo hit back-to-back field goals and Phil Chenier hit a pull-up to get it back to 48-39.  The teams went back and forth from there.  The action was highlighted by a Julius Erving rock-the-cradle dunk over Kareem.  Abdul-Jabbar would score 9 points in the rest of the first half after being posterized but the East would lead 68-58 at halftime.

The East would have a 12-point lead early in the third as McAdoo and Pistol Pete Maravich (who would score 68 points versus the Knicks 12 days after this game) would get breakaways.  But Bob Lanier and Maurice Lucas along with starters Thompson, Westphal and Van Lier helped the West back.  Each would have at least one basket as the West went on a 12-2 run and cut it to 74-72 on a Lucas jumper.  Then Dr. J would have an and-one dunk on a McAdoo assist and Maravich hit back-to-back jumpers to put the Eats back up 81-73.  Then the West brought in Rick Barry and Don Buse and they would have a major impact on both ends (mostly Barry on offense and Buse on defense).  With the East up 85-77, Buse started a huge run with a jumper.  Phil Smith followed with a jumper and then Barry got a layup on the break.  Buse hit another jumper to tie it and then his Indiana Pacers teammate Bill Knight gave the West their first lead at 87-85.  The run didn’t stop.  Barry got another layup off a Smith steal and then hit a jumper on the next possession.  Phil Chenier finally ended the 14-0 run with a jumper.  But then Barry and Buse had a beautiful quick-passing interchange that ended with a Barry jumper.  Two Knight free throws and a Buse assist to Jones put the East up by 10 before a McAdoo jumper cut the lead to 97-89 at the end of the third quarter.

The West kept its lead early in the fourth led by Thompson and Jabbar.  McAdoo meanwhile was keeping the East in it with 6 points early in the fourth.  Erving completed a 6-0 run with 2 free throws and a fast break dunk and it was 109-107.  After an exchange of baskets between Lanier and McAdoo, Westphal was able to get out on the break twice.  First he completed the play with a left-handed slam and then he found Thompson for another dunk.  The back court of Westphal and Buse was working very well and it was ironic because after Westphal’s Suns followed their 1976 Finals appearance with a 34-48 record with the same team, Phoenix would trade Ricky Sobers to Indiana for Buse.  Buse and Westphal would quarterback some pretty good Phoenix teams.

The East would cut the lead back to two after Erving scored on an offensive rebound, intercepted a pass and McAdoo hit a jumper.  The West would bring it back it to 120-113 on a Lanier jumper from Barry.  Then Erving made another beautiful play.  Maravich gave him a great back door pass and Dr. J hit an up-and-under reverse while being fouled.  The free throw gave him 28 points and then he got another basket on a between-the-legs pass from Pistol Pete.  After a Westphal runner, Maravich hit a pull-up jumper at 1:32 and it was 122-120 West.  McAdoo then tied the game with two free throws.  But Big Bob missed a chance to give the East the lead when he missed a pull-up jumper after Erving had blocked a Barry layup.  On a scramble after the rebound, a loose ball foul was called on Doug Collins and Phil Smith made 1-of-2 free throws.  Then defensive ace Bobby Jones blocked a Maravich shot and Westphal got yet another fast break dunk at 35 seconds and it was 125-122 West.  After McAdoo hit two more free throws the West called a timeout to set strategy.  It failed though as McAdoo stole an entry pass to Kareem and called the East’s last timeout with under 20 seconds left.  But the East’s strategy failed too as Westphal stole the ball from Maravich and the West ran out the clock.  Despite the West victory, Julius Erving was still named MVP after a spectacular performance.

East starters (teams) and point totals

Julius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers) 30 – Small Forward

George McGinnis (Philadelphia 76ers) 4 – Power Forward

Bob McAdoo (New York Knicks) 30 – Center

Pete Maravich (New Orleans Jazz) 10 – Point Guard

Doug Collins (Philadelphia 76ers) 8 – Shooting Guard

East bench (teams) and point totals

Rudy Tomjanovich (Houston Rockets) 6

John Havlicek (Boston Celtics) 4

Jo Jo White (Boston Celtics) 10

Earl Monroe (New York Knicks) 4

Phil Chenier (Washington Bullets) 6

George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs) 0

Elvin Hayes (Washington Bullets) 12

East Coach: Gene Shue (Philadelphia 76ers)

West starters (teams) and point totals

David Thompson (Denver Nuggets) 18 – Small Forward

Bobby Jones (Denver Nuggets) 2 – Power Forward

Dan Issel (Denver Nuggets) 0 – Center

Norm Van Lier (Chicago Bulls) 2 – Point Guard

Paul Westphal (Phoenix Suns) 20 – Shooting Guard

West bench (teams) and point totals

Rick Barry (Golden State Warriors) 18

Phil Smith (Golden State Warriors) 13

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers) 21

Bob Lanier (Detroit Pistons) 17

Don Buse (Indiana Pacers) 4

Billy Knight (Indiana Pacers) 4

Maurice Lucas (Portland Blazers) 6

West Coach: Larry Brown (Denver Nuggets)

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Kareem grabbing a rebound against Dr. J as David Thompson looks on *photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated for Kids

May 1, 1977 – West Semifinals, Game 6: Los Angeles Lakers 106 @Golden State Warriors 115

This was a home court series.  Actually this was a home court rivalry at this point.  The Lakers had not won in Golden State for 15 consecutive games (or in other words since the 1973 Western Conference Finals) while the Warriors had lost 13 consecutive in LA.  Many of the games in this series were relatively close (margins between 4 and 11) but the home team had won every game.  And since the Lakers had home court advantage, they had a 3-2 lead going back to Game 6 in Oakland.

Lucius Allen made the first shot for the Lakers and was quickly matched by Gus Williams.  Then Kareem split a pair of free throws for a 3-2 Lakers lead.  That would be the last Los Angeles lead until Game 7.  The scoring line of the game for the next few minutes looked like this – Barry hit a jumper, Wilkes got a steal and layup, Williams got a layup off a deflection, Barry hit another jumper then two free throws, Williams split a pair of free throws, Wilkes hit a hook shot and then a jumper on a Barry assist.  The Warriors had a 17-3 lead and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 2 fouls when the dust settled.  Kareem stayed in the game and scored 11 points in the period but the Warriors stayed ahead when the Barry, Williams, and Wilkes attack was helped along by Charles Johnson and Charles Dudley each getting a basket.  The Warriors led 34-22 after the quarter.

After Laker reserve forward Earl Tatum hit a jumper to start the period, Golden State kept rolling.  Dudley got another layup on a Barry assist, Johnson hit another jumper, and Barry hit from the top of the key.  The Warriors then countered two Jabbar free throws with Barry hitting rookie Robert Parish for a slam on a pick-and-roll.  The Warriors led by as many as 20 with 8:17 left in the second on a Parish turnaround jumper.  The Lakers then went on a 10-2 and cut the lead to 55-43 on a Jabbar tip-in (which was his 25th point).  But then Kareem got his 4th foul on a rebound scramble and had to go to the bench.  This was big because Kareem was only 97% of their offense that season (okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration but not much of one).  The Warriors increased their lead back to 60-45 as a struggling Phil Smith hit a three-point play on a left-handed driving layup.  But Kareem’s backup C.J. Kupec hit back-to-back baskets (the 2nd of which resulted in a three-point play) and the Lakers cut it to 62-52 at the half.  The Warriors actually got it to that margin when Wilkes hit a corner jumper as the shot clock buzzer expired a few seconds before the half clock expired.

The Lakers started the second half strong as Kareem came out with a sky hook, then Allen hit a jumper and Kareem hit another hook after he had gotten too deep.  But Wilkes quelled the run with back-to-back jumpers.  Los Angeles kept coming as Kareem outletted to forward Don Ford for a layup and then Allen hit another jumper for his 12th point.  But this time it was Barry who cooled the Lakers momentum with back-to-back jumpers.  Both teams then literally traded baskets for the rest of the period as the lead went from 8 to 10 and then back to 8.  Kareem had 39 points by the end of the period and Tatum had come in and made a few jumpers.  But the Warriors led by Wilkes and Parish’s scoring along with Dudley’s 7 assists in the period maintained an 88-80 lead going into the fourth.

A big moment happened early in the fourth quarter that all but ended the game.  Kareem got his fifth foul on a call he did not enjoy.  He stayed in the game but was ineffective and Laker Coach Jerry West got a technical after another call that went against the Lakers.  For the Warriors, Phil Smith went coast-to-coast for a slam that got the crowd going and Charles Johnson hit several jumpers to hold off Laker mini-runs.  Los Angeles didn’t help themselves as they kept turning the ball over when they had chances.  For Kareem, his 43 points in this game was his fourth 40-point game of the series.

He would only score 36 in Game 7 at the Forum but the Lakers kept the home court advantage theme going by closing out the Warriors 97-84 at the Forum.

Los Angeles starters (points scored)

Cazzie Russell (14) – Small Forward

Don Ford (8) – Power Forward

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (43) – Center

Lucius Allen (12) – Point Guard

Don Chaney (10) – Shooting Guard

Los Angeles bench (points scored)

Earl Tatum (14)

Tom Abernethy (0)

C.J. Kupec (5)

Los Angeles Coach: Jerry West

Golden State starters (points scored)

Rick Barry (27) – Small Forward

Jamaal Wilkes (20) – Power Forward

Clifford Ray (2) – Center

Gus Williams (10) – Point Guard

Phil Smith (13) – Shooting Guard

Golden State bench (points scored)

Robert Parish (13)

Charles Dudley (6)

Charles Johnson (16)

Sonny Parker (2)

Larry McNeill (6)

Golden State Coach: Al Attles

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Abdul-Jabbar was the man for the 1977 Lakers, averaging 37.1 ppg vs. the Warriors in the West Semis *photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

May 8, 1977 – Western Finals, Game 2: Portland Blazers 99 @Los Angeles Lakers 97

Bill Walton vs Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  The matchup of perhaps the two greatest players in college basketball history.  And they played at the same school for the same coach.  This was their first matchup in the NBA playoffs (their only other one turned out to be the 1987 NBA Finals when Walton was a shell of himself and played sparingly for the Celtics).

The Lakers came into the series tired after finally disposing of Golden State in Game 7 on Wednesday, May 4.  Game 1 was Friday, May 6 and the Blazers blew out the Lakers in the Forum.  Lucius Allen was bothered by a toe injury throughout the playoffs and didn’t play in Game 1 (or Game 2).  The Blazers were continuing to take everybody by surprise.  It was their team ball that made the difference as well as their defense.  Offensively for this game, the Blazers would rely on two hot hands.

Abdul-Jabbar came out smoking in Game 2.  He was getting deep position and finishing against both Walton and Lucas.  But the Blazers matched the Lakers attack led by shooting guard Lionel Hollins.  Hollins made his first five shots and the Blazers even took a 24-18 lead late in the 1st.  But then a 6-0 Laker run capped by Kareem’s 14th point of the period on a sky hook tied the game.  Hollins then made a jumper for his 14th point of the period and the Blazers led 26-25 after the first.

The second quarter went back-and-forth as reserves for each team got into the scoring column.  A reserve that didn’t help the Lakers was Dwight ‘Bo’ Lamar who got a technical foul in the middle of the quarter (after he missed a few shots including a layup).  Bob Gross made the tech and then Maurice Lycas hit a bank shot to put Portland up 42-36.  Kareem’s continued scoring, helped by Earl Tatum and Cazzie Russell scoring kept the Lakers in the game.  A big play happened with the Blazers up 48-45.  Kareem inbounded a ball that was stolen by Hollins.  Lionel then dunked the ball with two hands over Kareem.  Hollins finished the half with 22 points but Kareem got his 24th point on a baseline fadeaway that cut Portland’s lead to 52-51.  The Lakers got a last shot after Bill Walton was called for traveling in the lane.  But with only a few seconds left, Hollins stole the ball and gave it to quick reserve guard Herm Gilliam for a dunk at the buzzer and Portland led 54-51 at the half.

Portland used a Walton putback and another Hollins bucket to offset two Kareem sky hooks early in the third.  But then the Blazers couldn’t score for awhile.  The Lakers went on a 14-2 run.  Cazzie Russell had 6 points in that run while Don Ford had 4.  Late in the period, a Russell jumper gave the Lakers their biggest lead at 77-66.  Herm Gilliam made a jumper at 22 seconds to cut the lead to nine.  Then Larry Steele stole the ball from Cazzie and gave it to Gilliam who made it down court just in time to make a layup at the buzzer.  It was 77-70 Lakers.

The first two minutes of the fourth went fine for the home team.  The only scoring was a back door layup by Tatum.  But then Lionel Hollins got his 7th steal of the game and Gilliam followed up Lionel’s miss.  Then on the very next possession, Hollins got his 8th steal and this time finished.  The Lakers then threw away the following inbounds pass and the game was on.  Steele followed with a jumper but the Lakers answered with Kareem and Ford hitting field goals.  Portland’s usual leading scorer Maurice Lucas was struggling mightily and hurting Portland’s attack but Maurice hit back-to-back jumpers to keep Portland it in.  Los Angeles took a 91-84 lead before Gilliam kept his attack going.  He made a jumper then followed it up with a running hook on the baseline.  Then Herm hit a high-arcing jumper and it was 91-90 LA.  After Kareem hit two free throws, Gilliam came back with a fadeaway jumper in the lane.  Herm was 10-for-12 in the 2nd half and scored 20 of his 24 points.  The Blazers finally took the lead with about two and a half minutes left when Walton hit a running jump hook in the lane.  The Lakers called timeout with 2:27 left and what happened after that is a mystery to me as the rest of the game seemed to have vanished.  From the stats I can tell you that Portland finished with Hollins and Gilliam each making a field goal and Hollins splitting a pair of free throws.  Meanwhile, the Lakers counter was a Kareem field goal for his 40th point and two Don Ford free throws.

Portland starters (points scored)

Bob Gross (5) – Small Forward

Maurice Lucas (16) – Power Forward

Bill Walton (14) – Center

Johnny Davis (2) – Point Guard

Lionel Hollins (31) – Shooting Guard

Portland bench (points scored)

Larry Steele (5)

Herm Gilliam (24)

Lloyd Neal (0)

Robin Jones (2)

Wally Walker (0)

Portland Coach: Jack Ramsay

Los Angeles starters (points scored)

Cazzie Russell (21) – Small Forward

Don Ford (10) – Power Forward

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (40) – Center

Don Chaney (6) – Point Guard

Earl Tatum (10) – Shooting Guard

Los Angeles bench (points scored)

Bo Lamar (0)

Tom Abernethy (2)

Johnny Neumann (4)

C.J. Kupec (4)

Cornell Warner (0)

Los Angeles Coach: Jerry West

May 13, 1977 – Western Finals, Game 4: Los Angeles Lakers 101 @Portland Blazers 105

Portland had won a Game 3 that was not shown on National TV (a common theme in this era) and took a 3-0 lead.  Game 4 was shown but Game 4 of the Eastern Finals between Philadelphia and Houston was not.  Philadelphia had won in Houston to take a 3-1 lead, but as we’ll discuss later that series was far from over.  Lucius Allen had returned from his toe injury and played only part of Game 3 but would be a factor in Game 4 despite re-injuring the toe during the game.  The Lakers would need Lucius and as many others as possible to help out Kareem because the Blazers were firing on all cylinders and had an unbelievable crowd on their side.

They started out this game with Maurice Lucas finding Bob Gross on a cut for a layup.  And then after Kareem matched that basket with a turn-around, the Blazers ran the ball back down immediately (similar to the 7 seconds or less Phoenix Suns) and Lucas hit a jumper.  Rookie point guard Johnny Davis (who replaced an injured Dave Twardzik in the starting lineup in the Semifinals and wouldn’t be removed until he was traded in the summer of ’78) did the same thing after Allen tied the game at 6.  He immediately pushed the ball down the court and hit a pull-up jumper.  The next few Portland baskets went like this – Gross got a fast break layup, Davis got a layup on a cut, and Lucas got a slam after Walton stole the ball from Kareem in the back court.  The Blazers pressure defense, fast break, and set offense with lots of movement were rolling.  The Lakers stayed alive though as Allen got 6 of their first 10 points.  The Blazers did roll out to a 9-point lead before a Kareem three-point play cut Portland’s lead to 31-25 at the end of the first quarter.

Abdul-Jabbar did end up scoring 13 points in the first quarter but only got 2 in the second.  But the Blazers could not put the Lakers away as their offense stalled with bench players in the game.  The Lakers bench meanwhile showed some hustle.  This was personified by Earl Tatum chasing down Herm Gilliam and blocking his wide open layup on the break.  The layup would have given the Blazers a 43-33 lead.  The Blazers did eventually grab that lead on a Gross tip-in but Johnny Neumann scored 7 points to bring the Lakers back to 45-44.  But Los Angeles could not take the lead and Portland would grab some momentum when Walton drove and kicked out to Lionel Hollins who hit a jumper at the halftime buzzer.  This basket gave Portland a 49-44 lead and gave Hollins 14 points.

Los Angeles came out firing in the third period and tied the game at 55 when Kareem made a spin move in the lane and banked in a shot from the front of the free throw circle while being fouled.  It was a graceful move for a 7’2″ player especially.  Lionel Hollins committed his 4th foul and Don Ford made three consecutive jumpers to give the Lakers a 61-59 lead.  Los Angeles maintained a 67-64 lead when trouble struck.  Kareem got his 4th foul on a rebound scramble with Walton.  It didn’t stop there.  On the very next possession, the Blazers got it inside to Walton who challenged Kareem and forced him to pick up his 5th foul.  Obviously, Kareem had to go to the bench but the Lakers kept with the Blazers and tied it at 73 on a Neumann jumper.  But the 3rd period ended with Davis and Lucas each hitting a pair of free throws and then Gilliam going coast-to-coast for a layup.  The Blazers were up 79-73 after 3.

Portland started the 4th on a 6-2 run which was finished by reserve Larry Steele getting a layup on a cut and Hollins getting a slam on the fast break.  At this point, Kareem had to come back in.  The big man sparked his team with an offensive rebound and a dunk to cut the lead to 85-77.  Ford got a fast break layup on an Allen assist and Russell got another fast break layup and then followed it with a turn-around jumper.  Then Kareem made a turn-around jumper from the post and it was 87-85.  But then Lucas hit a big jumper on the very next possession for a four-point lead.  This was followed by Gross hitting a cutting reverse layup over Kareem on a Walton assist and then Lucas getting a shot in the lane in roll in off an inbounds pass.  After four straight Laker points, Lucas hit another jumper for his 24th point.  Kareem followed with two free throws before Gross hit Walton on a lob for a layup.  Then the daggers started flowing.  Davis went coast-to-coast off a defensive rebound for a layup and a foul (it wasn’t like the Lakers weren’t back.. it’s just that Davis was so much faster then all of them.  He did miss the free throw though).  Walton hit a bank shot after Don Chaney canned two free throws.  Then the final dart hit the Lakers with 2:40 left when Davis stole the ball from Kareem in the post and went coast-to-coast again for a layup.

The Lakers didn’t quit and battled to 105-101 before the sweep was officially completed.  The only members of this Laker team who was still on the roster for the 1979 season was Kareem and Don Ford.  The Lakers did sign Jamaal Wilkes from the Warriors in the summer of ’77 and drafted Norm Nixon.  But they wouldn’t make it as far in the playoffs as they did in 1977 until they drafted a young man by the name of Magic Johnson in 1979.

Los Angeles starters (points scored)

Cazzie Russell (12) – Small Forward

Don Ford (14) – Power Forward

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (30) – Center

Lucius Allen (20) – Point Guard

Don Chaney (8) – Shooting Guard

Los Angeles bench (points scored)

Earl Tatum (4)

Bo Lamar (0)

Tom Abernethy (4)

Johnny Neumann (9)

C.J. Kupec (0)

Los Angeles Coach: Jerry West

Portland starters (points scored)

Bob Gross (10) – Small Forward

Maurice Lucas (26) – Power Forward

Bill Walton (19) – Center

Johnny Davis (21) – Point Guard

Lionel Hollins (18) – Shooting Guard

Portland bench (points scored)

Larry Steele (5)

Herm Gilliam (2)

Lloyd Neal (4)

Robin Jones (0)

Wally Walker (0)

Portland Coach: Jack Ramsay

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*photo courtesy of ebay

May 15, 1977 – Eastern Finals, Game 5: Houston Rockets 118 @Philadelphia 76ers 115

The amazing Houston Rockets, as Brent Musburger described of them during the telecast, had come out of nowhere to get the 2nd spot in the East.  They were expected to be no match for the star-studded Philadelphia 76ers and so far in the series, they weren’t.  The 76ers were up 3-1 after winning Game 4 in Houston 107-95.  There was an air of coronation in this game as everyone (fans, broadcasters, perhaps even the 76ers) seemed to be looking forward to the NBA Finals.

Houston put a quick halt on that coronation as they jumped out to a 12-5 lead.  The Rockets’ small but effective back court of 6’3″ John Lucas and 5’9″ Calvin Murphy scored 10 of those 12 points.  Houston ended up getting 18 free throw attempts in the first quarter.  But Philadelphia led by Julius Erving’s 14 points and Doug Collins’ 12 came back to take a 33-31 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was a back-and-forth battle.  The 76ers were sparked when big 6’11” 250 pound Darryl Dawkins (in his 2nd year out of high school) got a follow slam.  In a bit of an irony, Dawkins at points in this game pushed Moses Malone around like a rag doll.  This would not turn out to be a trend as the years went on.  Erving hit 8 of his first 11 shots for the game as the Rockets didn’t stop him from getting to the basket.  His back-to-back baskets gave the 76ers an 8-point lead at 43-35.  The Rockets stayed in it sparked by 6th man Mike Newlin.  A Lucas coast-to-coast drive plus the foul brought Houston to within 50-48.  The Rockets eventually cut it to 56-55 before Erving found Dawkins for a three-point play.  Then on the next Houston possession, Dr. J stole a pass and breezed over Lucas for a flying slam as the crowd went bonker-nuts.  It was a typical Erving highlight as he took off for his dunk from about 10 feet away.  Julius got another reverse slam on reserve (and future coach) Mike Dunleavy’s assist for his 27th point of the half.  Philadelphia led 63-59 at the break.

Early in the third, Houston’s Kevin Kunnert and Calvin Murphy got their 4th fouls.  After Calvin’s 4th, Philadelphia went on an 8-0 run and took a 77-65 lead.  After four straight Houston points, Dawkins hit a turn-around jumper from the post and then point guard Henry Bibby hit a pull-up jumper as George McGinnis was being fouled.  McGinnis hit the free throw for an unconventional three-point play and an 82-69 lead.  Erving and Bibby each added a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 17.  But then Houston drew respect from the broadcasters as they made a great run to end the third.  Murphy had to come back in with his 4 fouls when Houston was down 17 and he immediately hit a jumper.  Two Newlin jumpers sandwiched a Rudy Tomjanovich hook shot and it was 88-77.  Then reserve Dwight Jones got a layup on a cut, Murphy found Malone for a layup, and Jones got another layup to offset a Dunleavy fast break layup from Steve Mix.  Houston was going for a last shot of the quarter to try and cut it to five.  But they turned the ball over and as Dunleavy was leading a fast break, tenacious Mike Newlin dove after Dunleavy’s dribble and got all ball and forced a jump ball.  The Rockets won the jump and Tomjanovich hit a long corner jumper to cut the 76ers lead to 90-85 after three.

The Rockets matched the 76ers point for point in the fourth as Philadelphia was reverting to one-on-one ball on many possessions and were forced into jumpers.  Murphy hit two free throws on Philadelphia starting center Caldwell Jones’ 5th foul and the 76ers lead was 98-97.  Collins hit a jumper and then another after Houston’s John Johnson hit a jumper.  Dr. J then hit a jumper for his 35th point.  But Tomjanovich and Kunnert buckets cut the lead to 105-104.  George McGinnis, who was struggling with a groin injury, scored on an offensive rebound before Kunnert hit another turn-around jumper in the post.  At 2:44, Malone gave the Rockets the lead with a fade-away jumper in the lane.  McGinnis hit a jumper a minute later for a Philly lead.  But then Lucas hit a bank shot from the right side.  Then Murphy got a basket on a Caldwell Jones goaltending after McGinnis lost the ball on a turnover.  With 1:04 left, Collins hit a jumper and it was 112-111 Houston.  Philly committed their last foul before the penalty 17 seconds later.  Houston inbounded the ball to Malone just outside the post at the wing.  Moses hit a turn-around over Jones for a three-point lead.  After Erving came down and missed a bank shot, Malone got the rebound but threw it out of bounds trying to get the ball to Lucas.  On the inbounds, Bibby missed a short jumper and Malone snared the rebound again and Lucas hit two free throws at 26 seconds.

After a 76ers timeout, Erving a layup with 21 seconds left to make it 116-113.  Newlin then hit 1-of-2 free throws but Philadelphia lost any chance to get back into it when Erving turned the ball over.  Tomjanovich hit a clinching free throw as the broadcast team of Musburger, Rick Barry, and Mendy Rudolph were changing their tune and talking about how Houston had the momentum and that the Houston fans would be raucous for Game 6 and that Philly wouldn’t want to play them in a 7th game even though they’d be at home.

Philly took care of business 112-109 in Game 6 and would go to the Finals against Portland.  It would start a week after Game 5 of the Eastern Finals and the Philadelphia crowd would be much more amped up for that.

Houston starters (points scored)

Rudy Tomjanovich (21) – Small Forward

Kevin Kunnert (10) – Power Forward

Moses Malone (17) – Center

John Lucas (21) – Point Guard

Calvin Murphy (15) – Shooting Guard

Houston bench (points scored)

Mike Newlin (19)

John Johnson (4)

Dwight Jones (11)

Tom Owens (0)

Houston Coach: Tom Nissalke

Philadelphia starters (points scored)

Julius Erving (37) – Small Forward

George McGinnis (11) – Power Forward

Caldwell Jones (6) – Center

Henry Bibby (17) – Point Guard

Doug Collins (26) – Shooting Guard

Philadelphia bench (points scored)

Steve Mix (2)

Darryl Dawkins (12)

Mike Dunleavy (4)

Philadelphia Coach: Gene Shue

Julius_Erving_Dunk1_display_image

Julius Erving and his afro routinely brought the Philly crowds to their feet with flying slam dunks *photo courtesy of Bleacher Report

May 22, 1977 – NBA Finals, Game 1: Portland Blazers 101 @Philadelphia 76ers 107

The NBA Finals got off to an expected high-flying start for the 76ers.  Right off the opening tip, Erving got a slam dunk.  Dr. J got a back door layup and an assist on a Doug Collins basket to follow that up.  But Portland stayed alive as Erving’s counterpart Bob Gross scored their first 6 points and 8 of their first 10.   The 76ers took a 15-13 lead when Erving spun and made a scoop shot over Walton.  The Blazers responded with a 6-0 run as they got two buckets out on the break.  The 76ers came back to tie the game at 25 and took oodles of momentum into the 2nd quarter when Erving stole the ball and dunked it at the buzzer for his 10th point.

The two teams battled to a 33-33 tie before Walton hit a cutting Gross for a layup and Lucas banked in an offensive rebound.  The Blazers were on their way to a 6-point lead when Johnny Davis pulled up for a jumper on the break.  But reserve Steve Mix managed to block the shot from behind Davis (without fouling him).  Doug Collins got the ball on the break to Darryl Dawkins for a gorilla slam.  Collins then got going a few minutes later by hitting three shots in a row.  Collins had 15 points and Erving 14 in the first half.  Gross led Portland with 14 while Lucas and Walton followed with 12 and 11.  The teams stayed relatively even with each other despite Portland committing 15 turnovers, clearly showing the rust of having not played in 9 days.  Philadelphia led 55-53 at the half.

Dr. J came out strong in the 2nd half as he started it the way he had started the game and ended the first quarter.  He got a steal and flying slam dunk.  Julius matched a Lionel Hollins basket with a finger roll.  And then he answered a Walton bucket by getting past Gross for a slam.  He later scored on a lob from Collins.  Portland came within 65-64 when Walton scored 5 consecutive points.  It was at this time that foul trouble affected both teams (it would affect Portland more later).  McGinnis got his 5th foul and Gross got his 4th.  Philly went on a run as Erving made a jumper, Mix got a driving layup, and Collins got a layup on the break on an Erving assist.  The 76ers would end the third quarter up 86-78.

Portland started the 4th quarter well.  After Davis hit a free throw, Herm Gilliam hit a jumper and Walton hit back-to-back jumpers.  They had possession of the ball to take the lead but Steve Mix got a steal and layup.  An Erving three-point play put 5 fouls on Gross.  And then Erving brought the ball around the world with his right hand for a scoop shot.  At 6:48, Gross fouled out.  Back to back bank shots by Henry Bibby and Erving put the 76ers up 99-91.  After Gross’ backup, Larry Steele, hit a jumper and Lionel Hollins fouled out, Erving found a struggling George McGinnis for a layup.  Maurice Lucas came back with two jumpers and then found Bill Walton for a slam and it was 101-99 Philadelphia.  But then Lucas fouled out at the 1:30 mark and young Darryl Dawkins hit two free throws.  Collins then stole the ball from Gilliam and Steele committed a back court foul on Dawkins at 1:10.  Darryl this time made 1-of-2 but Portland turned the ball over for the 33rd time.  Philly ran down the shot clock and Collins drilled a jumper.  The Blazers on the next possession committed their 34th and mercifully last turnover.

Philadelphia also beat Portland in Game 2 at the Spectrum.  Near the end of that game, Lucas and Dawkins got into a near melee.  This fight perhaps along with going home turned the series around for the Blazers.  They killed Philly in Games 3 and 4 but had to get a win in Philadelphia to win a championship.

Portland starters (points scored)

Bob Gross (16) – Small Forward

Maurice Lucas (18) – Power Forward

Bill Walton (28) – Center

Johnny Davis (5) – Point Guard

Lionel Hollins (8) – Shooting Guard

Portland bench (points scored)

Larry Steele (9)

Dave Twardzik (0)

Herm Gilliam (14)

Lloyd Neal (1)

Robin Jones (2)

Corky Calhoun (0)

Portland Coach: Jack Ramsay

Philadelphia starters (points scored)

Julius Erving (33) – Small Forward

George McGinnis (8) – Power Forward

Caldwell Jones (8) – Center

Henry Bibby (10) – Point Guard

Doug Collins (30) – Shooting Guard

Philadelphia bench (points scored)

Steve Mix (9)

Darryl Dawkins (7)

Mike Dunleavy (0)

Joe Bryant (2)

Philadelphia Coach: Gene Shue

June 3, 1977 – NBA Finals, Game 5: Portland Blazers 110 @Philadelphia 76ers 104

The Blazers got off to a good start at the Spectrum where they had not won all season.  After Doug Collins made the first shot, Bob Gross came back with his own jumper and then two free thrwos.  Gross then found Walton on two pick-and-rolls for layups.  Gross then got a tip-in and hit another jumper after committing his 2nd foul.  Gross committed his 3rd foul but he had led the Blazers to a 16-10 lead.  Walton had been a force at the defensive end of the court challenging every Philly shot and roving around on defense not worrying about the non-scoring Caldwell Jones and struggling George McGinnis.  Portland ended the first quarter up 22-15.

Portland grabbed a 30-19 lead as they continued to hold down the high-powered Philly offense.  In the series, only Erving and Collins were producing points near their capable level.  McGinnis and Henry Bibby were in slumps and Lloyd Free was struggling to come back from bruised ribs.  After an Erving fast break dunk cut the lead to seven, Maurice Lucas had a jumper bounce in and then Larry Steele found Bill Walton for a lob.  The teams shot a lot of free throws in the first half as nobody could really get a rhythm, even Portland despite grabbing the lead wasn’t moving fluidly.  Erving, Bibby, and McGinnis (who during the series was 16-for-48 from the field in the first 4 games and 53% from the line) each hit two free throws for a 6-0 run.  Lucas came back with two free throws before a Johnny Davis jumper canceled out an Erving banker.  Julius came back though with a baseline jumper and McGinnis twice split a pair of free throws while the crowd cheered each make.  Gross hit a jumper and Lucas did too but an Erving pass to Collins for a layup cut it to 43-41.  Bibby had a chance to tie it but missed a layup that put him at 0-for-7 for the first half.  After a jump ball at Portland’s free throw line was controlled by the Blazers, Lucas made a jumper in the lane with 3 seconds left to put his team up by four at the half.

Portland started the 2nd half well as Walton hit from the top of the circle and then Davis stole the ball from Erving and found Gross for a layup on a 3-on-1.  Another Davis fast break layup put the Blazers up 53-44.  It was then that George McGinnis hit from the post for his first field goal of the game.  McGinnis was about to be replaced by Steve Mix but told coach Gene Shue to keep him in the game after making that basket, was the former ABA MVP starting to feel it?  Bibby made a jumper for his first field goal before McGinnis made a long jumper that got the crowd going.  After a Blazer miss, McGinnis tipped the rebound to Collins and ran the wing.  Doug found him for a layup and a foul as the crowd went wild.  McGinnis’ slump was making headlines and now he had made three baskets in a row and a free throw could tie it.

But George missed the shot and just like that Gross hit a jumper and then found Davis for a three-point play on the fast break.  McGinnis would not score again for the rest of Game 5 and wouldn’t play in the 4th quarter after committing his 4th foul.  The third quarter was a Portland clinic as they repeatedly got out on the break and got layups.  They also got layups on cuts.  They also keyed themselves defensively led by Dave Twardzik.  The small guard repeatedly got his hands on balls and hustled after others.  He also got 8 third quarter points.  A key sequence happened with the Blazers up 73-60.  Davis found big reserve Lloyd Neal on the break for a layup and then Gross got a steal in the back court as Dawkins threw a lazy inbounds pass.  Gross got a layup and one.  The Blazers ended the third quarter up 85-66 having scored 40 points in the period.

Portland grabbed its biggest lead at 91-69 when Davis got a fast break layup and Hollins got another layup in the half court.  It was then that Kobe’s father started to spark the 76ers.  Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant made a jumper and drew Lucas’ 5th foul.  Erving then put back Bryant’s free throw miss and then Collins got a driving three-point play.  Portland started to kill time on their possessions.  In one occasion it worked as Hollins nailed a 25-footer at the end of the clock for a 94-76 lead at 6:58.  But Portland started to rush as Philadelphia was putting the pressure on them.  Within a minute and a half after Hollins jumper, Erving hit a jumper and two free throws, Collins hit two free throws and a jumper, and after Gross got a layup after breaking the press Erving got a three-point play and it was 96-87.  Portland had committed three turnovers during that stretch.  Gross fouled out with his team up 98-89 after Bryant drew a foul on a great acting job.  Gross had scored 25 points.  Bryant made 1-of-2 free throws and then Erving went coast-to-coast for a scoop shot and it was a 6-point game.  Walton and Bryant each made two free throws before Hollins was fouled by Bibby after it looked like Henry had a clean steal and a breakaway layup.  Hollins made 1-of-2 and Bryant came right back with a jumper and it was 101-96.

As Portland set up their offense, the Philadelphia defense somehow got cross-matched and Bibby was stuck on Lucas.  Lucas got the ball in the post and hit a bank shot over Bibby and Collins.  After a Bryant miss, Portland found themselves 3-on-1 again.  Twardzik found Lucas who found Hollins for a layup at the 1:58 mark.  Philly got a glimmer of hope as Bibby made a jumper and Collins got a driving layup at the 1:06 mark for a 105-100 lead.  But then Portland ran down the shot clock and Twardzik drove and was fouled near the end of it.  The free throws put the game on ice.

Now Philadelphia had to win in Portland to stay alive.  They had not won there all year and had been blown out their last three times at the Memorial Coliseum (including Games 3 and 4).

Portland starters (points scored)

Bob Gross (25) – Small Forward

Maurice Lucas (20) – Power Forward

Bill Walton (14) – Center

Johnny Davis (11) – Point Guard

Lionel Hollins (14) – Shooting Guard

Portland bench (points scored)

Larry Steele (0)

Dave Twardzik (16)

Herm Gilliam (0)

Lloyd Neal (6)

Robin Jones (0)

Corky Calhoun (4)

Portland Coach: Jack Ramsay

Philadelphia starters (points scored)

Julius Erving (37) – Small Forward

George McGinnis (11) – Power Forward

Caldwell Jones (0) – Center

Henry Bibby (16) – Point Guard

Doug Collins (23) – Shooting Guard

Philadelphia bench (points scored)

Lloyd Free (2)

Steve Mix (6)

Darryl Dawkins (2)

Mike Dunleavy (0)

Joe Bryant (7)

Philadelphia Coach: Gene Shue

PortlandPhilly_display_image

Bill Walton makes a jump hook over Darryl Dawkins as Julius Erving (#6) and Lloyd Neal (#36) look on *photo courtesy of Bleacher Report

June 5, 1977 – NBA Finals, Game 6: Philadelphia 76ers 107 @Portland Blazers 109

The 76ers came out loose for Game 6 and matched the Blazers basket-for-basket.  The biggest surprise was that George McGinnis came out and made his first 3 shots and played like the McGinnis of old in this game.  Portland continued its great ball movement as Bobby Gross, Lionel Hollins, and Johnny Davis each got 2 early baskets.  The big change in the Philly attack for Game 6 was trying to occupy Walton, and Caldwell Jones came out aggressive after taking only one shot in Game 5.  Jones scored 6 early points but also got 3 early fouls.  But Philadelphia was getting ball movement and penetration and looked very good offensively, especially for a team that had lost the last three games and didn’t have many players playing with confidence.  They took a 24-18 lead when Erving got a steal from Gross and then took off 10-12 feet from the hoop and hit a flying slam over Gross.  After a Walton bank shot, Steve Mix penetrated and found Darryl Dawkins for a slam.  But then Walton hit a cutting Gross for a reverse layup, Dave Twardzik hit a free throw, Lloyd Neal hit a pull-up bank shot and then Hollins hit a bank shot on the break after a great spin move in the lane.  Philadelphia tied the game at 27 at the end of the first quarter when McGinnis hit a free throw for his 9th point.

Philadelphia stayed with the Blazers through half of the 2nd quarter but then that big Portland run that defined their wins in the Finals hit the 76ers.  With the game tied at 40, Portland ran off 10 quick points capped by Hollins getting his 14th point on the break.  After an Erving bank shot broke the run and cut the lead to 50-42, Walton hit Davis for a layup and then Gross connected with Walton on a lob pass and Bill finished plus the foul for a 55-42 lead.  Portland grabbed as much as a 15-point lead before the Doctor’s 20 points helped cut the lead to 67-55 at the half.  Philadelphia kept within that margin helped by McGinnis’ 9 third quarter points.  But Gross sparked the Blazers back to as much as a 14-point lead.  Philly was resorting to their customary one-on-one play to try and get back.  Their ball movement in the first quarter was no longer existent.  Erving did score 6 points near the end of the third to help cut the Blazers lead to 91-82 going into the 4th.

The final quarter started with Maurice Lucas committing his 5th foul and Philadelphia did cut the lead to 93-88 after a Doug Collins reverse layup on the break.  But Caldwell Jones got his 5th foul and Portland went back up 99-90 with 7:00 left.  Then McGinnis committed his 4th foul and Davis hit 1-of-2 free throws.  Portland extended that lead to 12 at the 5:50 mark when Gross hit a jumper for his 24th point.  Erving and Henry Bibby came back with field goals and then Lloyd Free (later to be known as World B.) found Dr. J for a dunk on the break and it was 102-96.  Then McGinnis stole the ball from Walton and went coast-to-coast for a layup and was fouled by Gross.  Big George missed the free throw though and Portland rebounded the miss and ran the ball down court for a 2-on-1 break in which Hollins found reserve Corky Calhoun for a slam.  That play killed Philly’s momentum for a few minutes and two Lucas free throws put the Blazers up 108-100 with 2:29 left.  But like Game 5, Philly’s pressure defense got them back into the game.  At 1:46, Erving hit a jumper to cut the lead to 108-103.  Then he hit two free throws at the 51 second mark to cut the lead to three and give him 40 points.  Portland ran down the shot clock and Twardzik missed a jumper from the corner.  But Lucas snared the offensive rebound and was fouled with 27 seconds left.  Lucas made 1-of-2.

After a Philly timeout, Erving penetrated and found Joe Bryant.  Bryant’s shot was blocked by Walton but the ball found McGinnis who hit a jumper with 18 seconds left to cut the lead to 109-107 and give him 28 points.  This was McGinnis first time scoring over 20 points in a 1977 playoff game since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus Houston.  Portland called timeout and then got the ball inbounds to Gross.  But then McGinnis in his biggest play of the playoffs double-teamed Gross, tied him up and forced a jump ball with 16 seconds left.  the 76ers controlled the jump and Erving missed a jumper with 10 seconds left.  The long rebound went out to Free who had his shot blocked out of bounds with 5 seconds left.  Philly didn’t call a timeout and McGinnis got open for a good shot.  But George hit the front rim with two seconds left, Walton tapped the rebound outside and the clock ran out.

The Portland fans stormed the court as Walton took off his jersey and threw it into the crowd (Walton finished Game 6 with 20 points and 22 rebounds).  Then CBS after getting a one minute of celebrating Blazer players and fans cut to the final round of the Kemper Open after completing their Sunday afternoon coverage of NBA basketball.  This ended up getting CBS some backlash as it came known that fans liked seeing a team celebrate after winning a championship and liked seeing some postgame reaction.  This was basically the start of a ‘dark era’ for the NBA in which TV only covered them live on Sunday afternoons (mostly) and the rest of the games were seen on a tape delay basis.  This era wasn’t saved until the Magic Johnson/Larry Bird era really got going.

Meanwhile for Portland, they came back with a better team in 1978.  They were running rough-shot over the league and drawing some fan interest before they self-destructed mostly by uncontrolled factors and help draw a nail in the coffin for waning interest in the NBA by casual fans.  This will be covered more in my 1978 NBA season post.

Philadelphia starters (points scored)

Julius Erving (40) – Small Forward

George McGinnis (28) – Power Forward

Caldwell Jones (10) – Center

Henry Bibby (6) – Point Guard

Doug Collins (6) – Shooting Guard

Philadelphia bench (points scored)

Lloyd Free (9)

Steve Mix (2)

Darryl Dawkins (4)

Mike Dunleavy (0)

Joe Bryant (2)

Harvey Catchings (0)

Philadelphia Coach: Gene Shue

Portland starters (points scored)

Bob Gross (24) – Small Forward

Maurice Lucas (15) – Power Forward

Bill Walton (20) – Center

Johnny Davis (13) – Point Guard

Lionel Hollins (20) – Shooting Guard

Portland bench (points scored)

Dave Twardzik (7)

Lloyd Neal (4)

Robin Jones (0)

Corky Calhoun (6)

Portland Coach: Jack Ramsay

Maurice-Lucas-640_620x350

Maurice Lucas grabbing a rebound versus Darryl Dawkins *photo courtesy of CBS News

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2 Comments
  1. Nice writeup, but I have a correction for you: Game 4 of the 1977 Western Finals was not the 2nd game of a CBS doubleheader. It was the only CBS telecast on 5/13 as CBS did not televise the Phi-Hou game that night.

  2. just rewatched the game and, yes, you are correct. Thank you. The change was made.

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