1976–77 Portland Trail Blazers season

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1976–77 Portland Trail Blazers season
First NBA Championship
Head coach Jack Ramsay
Arena Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 49–33 (.598)
Place Division: 2nd
Conference: 3rd
Playoff finish NBA Champions

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television KOIN
Radio KYTE
< 1975–76 1977–78 >

The 1976–77 season was the seventh for the Portland Trail Blazers 7th season in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The revamped Blazers would end up getting off to a terrific start winning 22 of their first 29 games.[1] The Blazers won their last 5 games to post a record of 49–33.[1] The Blazers made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and proceeded to stampede through the postseason. By the time the Blazers had made it to the 1977 NBA Finals, the city of Portland was truly in the grips of "Blazermania".[1] After losing the first two games of the championship series at Philadelphia, the Trail Blazers won four in a row to bring the trophy to Portland. The championship capped the team's first winning season.[2]

As of 2014, this remains the only NBA Championship in Blazers franchise history, though they did make Finals appearances in 1990 and 1992.

Offseason[edit]

Wally Walker was the fifth overall pick in the 1976 NBA draft.

NBA Draft[edit]

Main article: 1976 NBA Draft

Note: This is not a complete list; only the first three rounds are covered, as well as any other picks by the franchise who played at least one NBA game.

Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 5 Wally Walker F  United States Virginia
2 20 Major Jones F  United States Albany State
2 22 Johnny Davis G  United States University of Dayton
3 39 Jeff Tyson F  United States Western Michigan University

ABA Dispersal Draft[edit]

= All-Star
= Hall of Fame

The American Basketball Association joined the NBA with the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Of the teams remaining in the ABA, four joined the NBA. The two teams, the Kentucky Colonels and Spirits of St. Louis, which folded had their players assigned to a dispersal draft for draft purposes.

Pick Player Nationality NBA Team ABA Team Purchase Price
2 Maurice Lucas (PF)  United States Portland Trail Blazers Spirits of St. Louis $300,000
5 Moses Malone (C)  United States Portland Trail Blazers Spirits of St. Louis $350,000

Roster[edit]

1976–77 Portland Trail Blazers roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY–MM–DD) From
F 10 Calhoun, Corky 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1950-11-01 Pennsylvania
G 16 Davis, Johnny 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1955-10-21 Dayton
G 3 Gilliam, Herm 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1946-05-05 Purdue
F 30 Gross, Bob 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1953-08-03 Long Beach State
G 14 Hollins, Lionel 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1953-10-19 Arizona State
C 34 Jones, Robin 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1954-02-02 Saint Louis
F 20 Lucas, Maurice 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1952-02-18 Marquette
F 22 Mayes, Clyde 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1953-03-17 Furman
F 36 Neal, Lloyd 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1950-12-10 Tennessee State
G 15 Steele, Larry 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1949-05-05 Kentucky
G 13 Twardzik, Dave 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1950-09-20 Old Dominion
F 42 Walker, Wally 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1954-07-18 Virginia
C 32 Walton, Bill 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1952-11-05 UCLA
Head coach




Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Roster
Last transaction: 2015-06-29

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Bill Walton Robin Jones
PF Maurice Lucas Lloyd Neal Wally Walker
SF Bob Gross Larry Steele Corky Calhoun
SG Dave Twardzik Herm Gilliam
PG Lionel Hollins Johnny Davis

Regular season[edit]

The Trail Blazers played their home games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Just months earlier, the American Basketball Association had ended its ninth and last campaign and the two leagues combined. Despite the changes, it would become the season of Bill Walton and the Portland Trail Blazers. Walton’s college performance led to predictions that Walton would be pro basketball's next great player. Yet those dreams went largely unfulfilled because of a series of foot injuries that hampered him. But in the 1977 playoffs, a healthy Walton and his teammates found a chemistry that enabled them to beat one of the most talented pro teams ever assembled.[3] For Walton, it wasn't a question of wanting to play but of being able to. Injuries repeatedly interrupted his progress as a pro player. On the court, when he was healthy, he was a key contributor. He missed 17 games over the 1976–77 season; the Blazers lost 12 of them. With Walton in the lineup, the Blazers were 44–21, and their .677 winning percentage during those games was the best in the league.[3] The dispersal of ABA players had been particularly beneficial to the Blazers. Maurice Lucas was simply the most dominating power forward in the game, and his arrival only boosted Walton's effectiveness in the frontcourt. Lucas led the team in scoring at 20.2 points per game and averaged better than 11 rebounds. Coming over with Lucas from the ABA was lead guard Dave Twardzik. He had four pro seasons with the Virginia Squires of the ABA and was a starter in Ramsay's system. Another key contributor was Lionel Hollins, a second-year player out of Arizona State who averaged nearly 15 points per game.[3]

Season standings[edit]

Pacific Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Los Angeles Lakers 53 29 .646
Portland Trail Blazers C 49 33 .598 4
Golden State Warriors 46 36 .561 7
Seattle SuperSonics 40 42 .488 13
Phoenix Suns 34 48 .415 19

[4]

C – NBA Champions

# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Los Angeles Lakers 53 29 .646
2 y-Denver Nuggets 50 32 .610 3
3 x-Portland Trail Blazers 49 33 .598 4
4 x-Golden State Warriors 46 36 .561 7
5 x-Detroit Pistons 44 38 .537 9
6 x-Chicago Bulls 44 38 .537 9
7 Kansas City Kings 40 42 .488 13
7 Seattle SuperSonics 40 42 .488 13
9 Indiana Pacers 36 46 .439 17
10 Phoenix Suns 34 48 .415 19
11 Milwaukee Bucks 30 52 .366 23


z - clinched division title
y - clinched division title
x - clinched playoff spot

Season schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Score Result Record Streak Scoring Leader
Oct 23, 1976 New York Nets 114–104 Win 1–0 Won 1 Lucas 24
Oct 26, 1976 Golden State Warriors 110-96 Win 2-0 Won 2 Walton 21
Oct 28, 1976 at Golden State Warriors 92-112 Loss 2-1 Lost 1 Walton 21
Oct 30, 1976 Detroit Pistons 131-97 Win 3-1 Won 1 Lucas 24
Nov 2, 1976 Atlanta Hawks 129-116 Win 4-1 Won 2 Walton 22
Nov 5, 1976 Philadelphia 76ers 146-104 Win 5-1 Won 3 Walton 26
Nov 7, 1976 New York Knicks 119-93 Win 6-1 Won 4 Gross 22
Nov 9, 1976 Kansas City Kings 119-102 Win 7-1 Won 5 Hollins 22
Nov 11, 1976 at Atlanta Hawks 105-107 Loss 7-2 Lost 1 Walton 28
Nov 13, 1976 at San Antonio Spurs 101-113 Loss 7-3 Lost 2 Walton 18
Nov 16, 1976 at New Orleans Jazz 98-100 Loss 7-4 Lost 3 Walton 21
Nov 19, 1976 Milwaukee Bucks 124-111 Win 8-4 Won 1 Walton 27
Nov 21, 1976 Buffalo Braves 121-98 Win 9-4 Won 2 Twardzik 19
Nov 24, 1976 Chicago Bulls 117-115 (OT) Win 10-4 Won 3 Lucas 25
Nov 26, 1976 at Los Angeles Lakers 96-99 Loss 10-5 Lost 1 Walton 26
Nov 27, 1976 Washington Bullets 103-95 Win 11-5 Won 1 Lucas 30
Nov 28, 1976 Indiana Pacers 145-115 Win 12-5 Won 2 Lucas 25
Nov 30, 1976 at Milwaukee Bucks 106-115 Loss 12-6 Lost 1 Walton 26
Dec 1, 1976 at Indiana Pacers 101-100 Win 13-6 Won 1 Lucas 23
Dec 3, 1976 at Phoenix Suns 113-99 Win 14-6 Won 2 Walton 24
Dec 4, 1976 Milwaukee Bucks 112-108 Win 15-6 Won 3 Walton 25
Dec 5, 1976 Cleveland Cavaliers 93-89 Win 16-6 Won 4 Lucas 22
Dec 7, 1976 at New York Knicks 111-94 Win 17-6 Won 5 Lucas 22
Dec 8, 1976 at Boston Celtics 95-104 Loss 17-7 Lost 1 Lucas 25
Dec 10, 1976 at Buffalo Braves 103-102 Win 18-7 Won 1 Walton 18
Dec 11, 1976 at Philadelphia 76ers 107-108 Loss 18-8 Lost 1 Walton 30
Dec 14, 1976 Houston Rockets 104-84 Win 19-8 Won 1 Gross 22
Dec 17, 1976 Denver Nuggets 127-105 Win 20-8 Won 2 Walton 22
Dec 18, 1976 Los Angeles Lakers 111-115 (OT) Loss 20-9 Lost 1 Walton 28
Dec 21, 1976 Kansas City Kings 99-94 Win 21-9 Won 1 Walton 24
Dec 25, 1976 Seattle Super Sonics 110-95 Win 22-9 Won 2 Walton 26
Dec 26, 1976 at Seattle Super Sonics 87-89 Loss 22-10 Lost 1 Walton 26
Dec 28, 1976 at Chicago Bulls 84-79 Win 23-10 Won 1 Walton 29
Dec 29, 1976 at Detroit Pistons 111-120 Loss 23-11 Lost 1 Hollins 20
Dec 30, 1976 at Milwaukee Bucks 107-127 Loss 23-12 Lost 2 Davis 20
Jan 1, 1977 Chicago Bulls 89-82 Win 24-12 Won 1 Neal 20
Jan 2, 1977 at Los Angeles Lakers 99-104 Loss 24-13 Lost 1 Lucas 31
Jan 4, 1977 Boston Celtics 128-84 Win 25-13 Won 1 Hollins 21
Jan 7, 1977 New Orleans Jazz 130-118 Win 26-13 Won 2 Lucas, Davis 19
Jan 9, 1977 San Antonio Spurs 150-113 Win 27-13 Won 3 Twardzik 22
Jan 11, 1977 New York Knicks 131-111 Win 28-13 Won 4 Lucas 36
Jan 14, 1977 at Boston Celtics 107-92 Win 29-13 Won 5 Walton, Gross 16
Jan 15, 1977 at Washington Bullets 107-113 Loss 29-14 Lost 1 Walton 18
Jan 16, 1977 at Atlanta Hawks 120-125 Loss 29-15 Lost 2 Steele 28
Jan 18, 1977 at New York Nets 109-94 Win 30-15 Won 1 Lucas 21
Jan 20, 1977 at Cleveland Cavaliers 99-91 Win 31-15 Won 2 Lucas 32
Jan 22, 1977 at Houston Rockets 107-110 Loss 31-16 Lost 1 Lucas 22
Jan 23, 1977 at San Antonio Spurs 118-123 Loss 31-17 Lost 2 Walton 28
Jan 26, 1977 at Denver Nuggets 107-102 Win 32-17 Won 1 Lucas 22
Jan 27, 1977 San Antonio Spurs 112-104 Win 33-17 Won 2 Lucas 23
Jan 30, 1977 Phoenix Suns 97-91 Win 34-17 Won 3 Lucas 21
Feb 2, 1977 at Kansas City Kings 107-119 Loss 34-18 Lost 1 Lucas 24
Feb 3, 1977 at Indiana Pacers 107-98 Win 35-18 Won 1 Lucas 35
Feb 5, 1977 Washington Bullets 104-116 Loss 35-19 Lost 1 Lucas 21
Feb 8, 1977 Denver Nuggets 111-119 Loss 35-20 Lost 2 Hollins 28
Feb 11, 1977 Atlanta Hawks 108-121 Loss 35-21 Lost 3 Lucas 41
Feb 15, 1977 at Cleveland Cavaliers 96-117 Loss 35-22 Lost 4 Lucas 25
Feb 16, 1977 at Detroit Pistons 118-125 Loss 35-23 Lost 5 Lucas 25
Feb 18, 1977 at Chicago Bulls 90-87 Win 36-23 Won 1 Lucas 23
Feb 19, 1977 at Denver Nuggets 124-133 Loss 36-24 Lost 1 Lucas 35
Feb 22, 1977 Boston Celtics 113-111 Win 37-24 Won 1 Hollins 43
Feb 25, 1977 Houston Rockets 106-123 Loss 37-25 Lost 1 Lucas 27
Mar 1, 1977 Philadelphia 76ers 108-107 Win 38-25 Won 1 Lucas 34
Mar 4, 1977 Cleveland Cavaliers 101-113 Loss 38-26 Lost 1 Gross 17
Mar 5, 1977 Seattle Super Sonics 134-104 Win 39-26 Won 1 Twardzik 28
Mar 8, 1977 at Buffalo Braves 95-102 Loss 39-27 Lost 1 Lucas 26
Mar 10, 1977 at New York Knicks 104-108 Loss 39-28 Lost 2 Lucas 29
Mar 11, 1977 at Kansas City Kings 112-114 Loss 39-29 Lost 3 Lucas, Hollins 26
Mar 15, 1977 New Orleans Jazz 131-104 Win 40-29 Won 1 Hollins 22
Mar 17, 1977 at Golden State Warriors 115-106 Win 41-29 Won 2 Steele 27
Mar 18, 1977 Indiana Pacers 134-110 Win 42-29 Won 3 Hollins 28
Mar 20, 1977 at Phoenix Suns 106-126 Loss 42-30 Lost 1 Lucas, Walton 16
Mar 22, 1977 at New Orleans Jazz 95-106 Loss 42-31 Lost 2 Lucas 29
Mar 23, 1977 at Houston Rockets 104-109 Loss 42-32 Lost 3 Walton 26
Mar 25, 1977 at New York Nets 131-103 Win 43-32 Won 1 Lucas 22
Mar 27, 1977 at Philadelphia 76ers 116-128 Loss 43-33 Lost 1 Lucas 30
Mar 29, 1977 Buffalo Braves 127-101 Win 44-33 Won 1 Hollins 26
Apr 1, 1977 Golden State Warriors 109-98 Win 45-33 Won 2 Walton 30
Apr 3, 1977 at Seattle Super Sonics 119-104 Win 46-33 Won 3 Walton 26
Apr 5, 1977 Detroit Pistons 110-105 Win 47-33 Won 4 Neal 18
Apr 9, 1977 Phoenix Suns 122-111 Win 48-33 Won 5 Walton, Gilliam 18
Apr 10, 1977 Los Angeles Lakers 145-116 Win 49-33 Won 6 Hollins 27

[5]

Playoffs[edit]

In his first season as head coach, Jack Ramsay led the Trail Blazers to their first playoff berth.

Western Conference Quarterfinals[edit]

Portland Trail Blazers defeated Chicago Bulls (2-1)[6]

Game Date Home team Result Road team
Game 1 April 12 Portland 96–83 Chicago
Game 2 April 15 Chicago 107–104 Portland
Game 3 April 17 Portland 106–98 Chicago

Western Conference Semifinals[edit]

Portland Trail Blazers defeated Denver Nuggets (4–2)[7]

Game Date Home team Result Road team
Game 1 April 20 Denver 100–101 Portland
Game 2 April 22 Denver 121–110 Portland
Game 3 April 24 Portland 110–106 Denver
Game 4 April 26 Portland 105–96 Denver
Game 5 May 1 Denver 114–105 (OT) Portland
Game 6 May 2 Portland 108–92 Denver

Western Conference Finals[edit]

Portland Trail Blazers swept Los Angeles Lakers (4–0)[7]

The Western Conference final was ballyhooed as a matchup of two outstanding centers from UCLA: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. Walton, finally healthy after being hampered by foot injuries during his first two NBA seasons, had led the league in rebounds and blocked shots.[2] The match-up turned out to be a mismatch as Portland swept the Lakers in four games.

Game Date Home team Result Road team
Game 1 May 6 Los Angeles 109–121 Portland
Game 2 May 8 Los Angeles 97–99 Portland
Game 3 May 10 Portland 102-97 Los Angeles
Game 4 May 13 Portland 105–101 Los Angeles

NBA Finals[edit]

Bill Walton was the MVP for the 1977 NBA Finals.

Portland Trail Blazers defeated Philadelphia 76ers (4–2)[7]

The Finals opened in the Spectrum on Sunday, May 22. The 76ers seemed unbeatable after the first two games. Erving opened Game 1 with a stupendous dunk off the opening tip. He finished with 33 points and Collins had 30 as Philadelphia won 107–101. The Blazers were rattled enough to commit 34 turnovers. Walton finished with 28 points and 20 rebounds.[3]

In Game 2 four nights later, the Sixers won handily, 107–89. Jones and Dawkins handled Walton easily, while the Sixers dominated in the second quarter, scoring 14 points in one three-minute stretch on their way to a 61–43 halftime lead. The game became very physical with about five minutes left. First, Portland's Lloyd Neal and McGinnis squared off, followed by Lucas and Erving trading elbows.[3]

In Game 3, played on Sunday, May 29, Lucas strode directly to the Philadelphia bench, then startled everybody, including Dawkins, by sticking out his hand for a shake. The Blazers had a high scoring attack to win the game. Lucas contributed 27 points and 12 rebounds. Walton had nine assists, 20 points, and 18 rebounds. Twardzik, too, had returned to speed, driving the Portland offense along to a 42-point fourth quarter. They won 129–107, closing the series gap to 2–1.[3]

In Game 4, Portland opened up a quick 17-point lead, then cruised to a 130–98 win. Walton was sent to the bench with five fouls in the third. With a little more than eight minutes left in Game 5, Portland led 91–69 and the crowd was headed home. Erving rallied the Sixers to make it respectable at the end, 110–104. He had managed 37 points in the game. Gross scored 25 points to lead the Blazers, while Lucas had 20 with 13 rebounds. Walton finished with 24 rebounds and 14 points.[3]

In the sixth and deciding game, Walton had 20 points, 23 rebounds, eight blocks and seven assists. The Portland lead was still 12 with half of the fourth quarter left when Erving led his teammates on one final run. At the four-minute mark, the lead was cut to four, 102–98. McGinnis hit a jumper, and the lead was only two points with 18 seconds left. The Sixers needed a turnover, and they finally got it from McGinnis, who was able to force a jump ball with Gross. With eight seconds remaining, Erving put up a jumper in the lane but missed. Free got the ball and lofted a baseline shot and missed too. With a second left, McGinnis tried to force a seventh and deciding game but he missed. Walton knocked the loose ball away and ripped off his jersey, and hurled it into the crowd.[3]

Game Date Home team Result Road team
Game 1 May 22 Philadelphia 107–101 Portland
Game 2 May 26 Philadelphia 107–89 Portland
Game 3 May 29 Portland 129–107 Philadelphia
Game 4 May 31 Portland 130–98 Philadelphia
Game 5 June 3 Philadelphia 104–110 Portland
Game 6 June 5 Portland 109–107 Philadelphia

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game

Season[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG

Awards and records[edit]

Milestones[edit]

Transactions[edit]

References[edit]