1977–78 Washington Bullets season

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1977–78 Washington Bullets season
First NBA Championship
Head coach Dick Motta
Arena Capital Centre
Results
Record 44–38 (.537)
Place Division: 2nd (Central)
Conference: 3rd (Eastern)
Playoff finish NBA Champions

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television WDCA
(Jim Karvellas, Gus Johnson)
Radio WTOP-AM
(Frank Herzog)
< 1976–77 1978–79 >

The Bullets got off to a slow start as they lost 6 of their first 10 games. On January 13, the Bullets beat the defending Champion Portland Trail Blazers to improve to 24-15.[1] Injuries would begin to have an effect on the team as the Bullets struggled, as they would lose 13 of their next 18 games. Hovering around .500 the rest of the season, the Bullets managed to make the playoffs. The Bullets finished the 1977-78 NBA season with a 44-38 record.[1]

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Pick Player Nationality NBA Team College/HS/Club Team
4 Greg Ballard (SF)  United States Washington Bullets Oregon

Roster[edit]

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Wes Unseld Joe Pace
PF Elvin Hayes Mitch Kupchak
SF Bob Dandridge Greg Ballard
SG Kevin Grevey Charles Johnson Phil Walker
PG Tom Henderson Larry Wright Phil Chenier Injured

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

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

[2]

Regular Season[edit]

Game Log[edit]

1977–78 game log
Total: 44–38 (Home: 29–12; Road: 15–26)
1977–78 season schedule

Notes:

a All times are EASTERN time. (UTC–4 and UTC–5 starting October 30)

Game Officials[edit]

Game Date Opponent Officials
1 October 21, 1977 Detroit
2 October 22, 1977 @ New York
3 October 28, 1977 @ Indiana
4 October 29, 1977 @ Kansas City
5 November 4, 1977 Phoenix
6 November 5, 1977 @ Houston
7 November 6, 1977 @ New Orleans
8 November 10, 1977 Milwaukee Bernie Fryer and Jack Madden
9 November 12, 1977 Philadelphia
10 November 13, 1977 @ Detroit
11 November 15, 1977 Seattle Ed Middleton and John Vanak
12 November 18, 1977 New York
13 November 19, 1977 @ Kansas City
14 November 21, 1977 @ Buffalo
15 November 22, 1977 Denver
16 November 26, 1977 Houston
17 November 30, 1977 San Antonio
18 December 2, 1977 @ Milwaukee Jim Capers and Hue Hollins
19 December 3, 1977 Boston
20 December 4, 1977 @ Cleveland
21 December 6, 1977 @ Chicago
22 December 7, 1977 Cleveland
23 December 9, 1977 New Orleans
24 December 11, 1977 New Jersey
25 December 13, 1977 Golden State
26 December 16, 1977 @ Denver
27 December 17, 1977 @ Portland Joe Gushue and Bill Saar
28 December 18, 1977 @ Seattle Bernie Fryer and Earl Strom
29 December 20, 1977 @ Los Angeles
30 December 25, 1977 Atlanta
31 December 26, 1977 @ Atlanta
32 December 28, 1977 Buffalo
33 December 30, 1977 @ Philadelphia
34 January 3, 1978 Denver
35 January 6, 1978 Indiana
36 January 8, 1978 @ New Jersey
37 January 10, 1978 Kansas City
38 January 11, 1978 @ Atlanta
39 January 13, 1978 Portland Hugh Evans and Earl Strom
40 January 14, 1978 @ Buffalo
41 January 18, 1978 @ Golden State
42 January 20, 1978 @ Los Angeles
43 January 22, 1978 @ Phoenix
44 January 24, 1978 Detroit
45 January 26, 1978 Chicago
46 January 29, 1978 Los Angeles
47 January 31, 1978 @ San Antonio
48 February 2, 1978 @ Cleveland
49 February 3, 1978 @ Boston
50 February 7, 1978 @ Golden State
51 February 8, 1978 @ Seattle Don Murphy and Mel Whitworth
52 February 12, 1978 @ Phoenix
53 February 14, 1978 @ Denver
54 February 16, 1978 Buffalo
55 February 17, 1978 @ Indiana
56 February 19, 1978 New Orleans
57 February 22, 1978 Portland Jack Madden and Tommy Nunez
58 February 24, 1978 Phoenix
59 February 26, 1978 Golden State
60 February 28, 1978 @ Milwaukee Joe Gushue and Mike Mathis
61 March 1, 1978 San Antonio
62 March 3, 1978 @ Detroit
63 March 5, 1978 Houston
64 March 10, 1978 @ Houston
65 March 11, 1978 @ San Antonio
66 March 14, 1978 Seattle Jim Capers and Joe Crawford
67 March 16, 1978 @ Chicago
68 March 17, 1978 Indiana
69 March 19, 1978 Milwaukee Don Murphy and Bill Saar
70 March 21, 1978 Boston
71 March 22, 1978 @ New Orleans
72 March 24, 1978 @ New Jersey
73 March 25, 1978 Atlanta
74 March 26, 1978 New Jersey
75 March 29, 1978 Kansas City
76 March 30, 1978 @ New York
77 March 31, 1978 Cleveland
78 April 2, 1978 New York
79 April 5, 1978 Los Angeles
80 April 6, 1978 @ Boston
81 April 8, 1978 @ Philadelphia
82 April 9, 1978 Philadelphia

Player stats[edit]

Note: GP= Games played; REB= Rebounds; AST= Assists; STL = Steals; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points; AVG = Average

Player GP REB AST STL BLK PTS AVG
Elvin Hayes
Bob Dandridge

Playoffs[edit]

East First Round[edit]

As the playoffs began, the Bullets began to get healthy. They started to play solid basketball at the right time as they swept the Atlanta Hawks in the first round.

(3) Washington Bullets vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks: Bullets win series 2-0

  • Game 1 @ Washington: Washington 103, Atlanta 94
  • Game 2 @ Atlanta: Washington 107, Atlanta 103 (OT)

East Conference Semifinals[edit]

In the second round, the Bullets stunned the Central Division champion San Antonio Spurs in 6 games.[1] Game 6 started out oddly as Spurs guard Mike Gale was forced to a wear an inside out Bullets uniform after losing his uniform at the airport.[1] In the 3rd period the Spurs would make a run and take a 62-61 lead when the lights went out at the Cap Centre. When the lights came back on the Bullets would come out shooting on the way to a 103-100 win.[1]

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (3) Washington Bullets: Bullets win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ San Antonio: San Antonio 114, Washington 103
  • Game 2 @ San Antonio: Washington 121, San Antonio 117
  • Game 3 @ Washington: Washington 118, San Antonio 105
  • Game 4 @ Washington: Washington 98, San Antonio 95
  • Game 5 @ San Antonio: San Antonio 116, Washington 105
  • Game 6 @ Washington: Washington 103, San Antonio 100

East Conference Finals[edit]

In the Eastern Finals, the Bullets took a 3-1 series lead against the defending Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers. The Bullets lost Game 5 on the road and returned home to play Game 6. In the closing seconds, Wes Unseld would rebound a shot of his own miss to give the Bullets a dramatic 101-99 victory.

(1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (3) Washington Bullets: Bullets win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Philadelphia: Washington 122, Philadelphia 117 (OT)
  • Game 2 @ Philadelphia: Philadelphia 110, Washington 104
  • Game 3 @ Washington: Washington 123, Philadelphia 108
  • Game 4 @ Washington: Washington 121, Philadelphia 105
  • Game 5 @ Philadelphia: Philadelphia 107, Washington 94
  • Game 6 @ Washington: Washington 101, Philadelphia 99

NBA Finals[edit]

After being swept in their previous trip to the NBA Finals, the Bullets lost Game 1 on the road against the Seattle SuperSonics, and a 19-point lead vanished in the process.[1] In Game 4, the Bullets rose to the occasion beating the Sonics 120-116 to even the series at 2 games apiece. After losing Game 5 in Seattle, the Bullets kept their hopes alive with a dominating 117-82 win at the Capital Centre.[1] Game 7 returned to Seattle and the Bullets were a heavy underdog. Kevin Grevey suffered a sprained wrist above his shooting hand, and Bob Dandridge was forced to see some action at guard. Dandridge would play strongly and scored 19 points to tie with Charles Johnson, who hit a half court shot at the end of the 3rd quarter, for the team high. Wes Unseld scored 15 points while pulling down 9 rebounds as the Bullets emerged with a 105-99 victory to win their first NBA Championship.[1]

Main article: 1978 NBA Finals

(E3) Washington Bullets vs. (W4) Seattle SuperSonics: Bullets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Seattle: Seattle 106, Washington 102
  • Game 2 @ Washington: Washington 106, Seattle 98
  • Game 3 @ Washington: Seattle 93, Washington 92
  • Game 4 @ Seattle: Washington 120, Seattle 116 (OT)
  • Game 5 @ Seattle: Seattle 98, Washington 94
  • Game 6 @ Washington: Washington 117, Seattle 82
  • Game 7 @ Seattle: Washington 105, Seattle 99

Game Log[edit]

1978 playoff game log
1977–78 season schedule

Notes:

a All times are EASTERN time. (UTC–3 and UTC–4 starting April 30)

Game Officials[edit]

Date Opponent Officials Alternate
April 12, 1978 Atlanta
April 14, 1978 @ Atlanta
April 16, 1978 @ San Antonio
April 18, 1978 @ San Antonio
April 21, 1978 San Antonio
April 23, 1978 San Antonio
April 25, 1978 @ San Antonio
April 28, 1978 San Antonio
April 30, 1978 @ Philadelphia
May 3, 1978 @ Philadelphia
May 5, 1978 Philadelphia
May 7, 1978 Philadelphia
May 10, 1978 @ Philadelphia
May 12, 1978 Philadelphia
May 21, 1978 @ Seattle Darell Garretson and Ed Rush
May 25, 1978 Seattle Joe Gushue and Jake O'Donnell
May 28, 1978 Seattle Earl Strom and John Vanak
May 30, 1978 @ Seattle Jack Madden and Don Murphy
June 2, 1978 @ Seattle Joe Gushue and Jake O'Donnell
June 4, 1978 Seattle Darell Garretson and Don Murphy
June 7, 1978 @ Seattle Jack Madden and Earl Strom

Awards and honors[edit]

28th NBA All-Star Game[edit]

Media[edit]

Local TV Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Local TV
December 2, 1977 @ Milwaukee WDCA
February 2, 1978 @ Cleveland WDCA
February 3, 1978 @ Boston WDCA

National TV Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Network Play-by-play Color commentator
January 8, 1978 @ New Jersey CBS
January 22, 1978 @ Phoenix CBS
January 29, 1978 Los Angeles CBS
February 12, 1978 @ Phoenix CBS
February 19, 1978 New Orleans CBS
February 26, 1978 Golden State CBS

Local Radio Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Flagship Station
November 15, 1977 Seattle WTOP-AM
December 18, 1977 @ Seattle WTOP-AM
February 8, 1978 @ Seattle WTOP-AM
March 14, 1978 Seattle WTOP-AM
May 21, 1978 @ Seattle WTOP-AM
May 25, 1978 Seattle WTOP-AM
May 28, 1978 Seattle WTOP-AM
May 30, 1978 @ Seattle WTOP-AM
June 2, 1978 @ Seattle WTOP-AM
June 4, 1978 Seattle WTOP-AM
June 7, 1978 @ Seattle WTOP-AM

National Radio Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Network

References[edit]