1977–78 Buffalo Braves season

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1977–78 Buffalo Braves season
Head coach Joe Mullaney and
Cotton Fitzsimmons
Arena Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
Results
Record 27–55 (.329)
Place Division: 4th (Atlantic)
Conference: 10th (Eastern)
Playoff finish DNQ

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television MSG Network, WIVB
Radio WBEN
< 1976–77

The 1977–78 NBA season was the Braves' eighth and final season in the NBA. Entering the season, the Braves were allowed an escape clause in their lease, because season ticket sales did not reach the set goal of 4,500. The Braves suffered another disappointment as Tiny Archibald (whom they acquired from the New Jersey Nets for George Johnson) was lost for the year due to an Achilles tendon injury in the preseason.[1][2]

The Braves played competitively in November with a respectable .500 record at 10–10. Despite the promising start, the Braves won just nine games over the next three months.[1] While the Braves were struggling on the court, owner John Y. Brown was brokering a deal to take over the legendary Boston Celtics franchise. Celtics owner Irv Levin wanted to move the historic franchise to California. However, the NBA would not allow him to take the cornerstone franchise out of Boston.[1]

NBA Lawyer David Stern offered a comprise in which Levin and Brown would swap franchises. The concept was that Levin would take over the Braves and move them to San Diego.[3] The Braves finished in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 27–55 (.329) record, and played their last game on April 9, ironically, in Boston.[1] Owners voted 21–1 to approve the deal, and the Braves moved from Buffalo to San Diego; the team was renamed the San Diego Clippers for the 1978–79 season.[1]

The deal also included a seven-player trade in which the Celtics acquired Archibald, Billy Knight, and Marvin Barnes.[1] The San Diego-bound Braves received Freeman Williams, back-up center Kevin Kunnert, and power forwards Kermit Washington and Sidney Wicks.[3] The team would not request a draft pick in the deal, allowing the Celtics to retain the draft rights to Larry Bird in 1979.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Damion Suilnger

Roster[edit]

Buffalo Braves 1977-78 roster
Players Coaches
Players OUS - 6 first Damion last Suligner
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. From
G 1 United States Archibald, Nate Injured (IN) 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 165 lb (75 kg) Texas–El Paso
F 8 United States Barnes, Marvin 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) Providence
G 7 United States Brokaw, Gary 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Notre Dame
F 22 United States Gerard, Gus (to DET) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Virginia
G 14 United States Glenn, Mike 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Southern Illinois
G 10 United States Johnson, Larry 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Kentucky
F 24 United States Jones, Wil 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Albany State
G 25 United States Knight, Billy 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Pittsburgh
C 45 United States Lloyd, Scott 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Arizona State
G 12 United States McClain, Ted 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Tennessee State
C 44 United States McDaniels, Jim 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Western Kentucky
F 43 United States McNeil, Larry 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Marquette
C 31 Netherlands Nater, Swen 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 240 lb (109 kg) UCLA
F 40 United States Owens, Eddie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) UNLV
F 34 United States Shumate, John 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Notre Dame
G 9 United States Smith, Randy 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Buffalo State
G 11 United States Williams, Chuck 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Colorado
F 32 United States Willoughby, Bill 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Dwight Morrow H.S.
Head coach

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

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

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

[4]

Record vs. opponents[edit]

1977-78 NBA Records
Team ATL BOS BUF CHI CLE DEN DET GSW HOU IND KCK LAL MIL NJN NOJ NYK PHI PHO POR SAS SEA WAS
Atlanta 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 2–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–1 1–3
Boston 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–1 2–2 1–2 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 0–4 2–2 1–3 0–4 0–4 1–3
Buffalo 1–3 1–3 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 0–3 3–1 1–3 1–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 0–4 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3
Chicago 3–1 3–1 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 0–4 2–2 1–3 1–2 2–2 1–3 3–0 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–1
Cleveland 3–1 3–1 3–1 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–1 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–2 0–4 0–4 3–1 2–2
Denver 3–1 3–1 3–1 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–0 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 3–1 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 3–1 2–1 1–3 3–1
Detroit 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–0 0–4 0–4 2–2 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2
Golden State 3–1 2–2 3–0 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–1 3–1 3–1 0–4 2–2 3–1 0–4 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 2–2 2–2
Houston 1–3 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 0–3 1–3 1–2 3–1 2–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 0–4 1–3
Indiana 1–3 1–2 3–1 1–3 1–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 0–4 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3 3–1
Kansas City 1–2 2–2 2–1 4–0 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 0–4 2–2 2–2 0–4 1–3 0–4 0–4 0–4 1–3 2–2
Los Angeles 1–3 2–1 3–1 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 4–0 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 4–0 2–1 3–1 2–2 1–3 0–4 2–2 1–3 2–2
Milwaukee 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 4–0 4–0 1–3 3–1 2–1 3–1 1–2 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1
New Jersey 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 0–4 1–3 0–4 1–3 0–4 2–2 0–3 0–4 2–2 2–2
New Orleans 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–3 1–3 4–0 3–1 2–2 2–2 1–2 1–2 4–0 1–3 2–2 1–3 3–1 1–3 2–2 0–4
New York 2–2 2–2 1–3 3–1 1–3 3–1 3–0 2–2 2–2 3–1 4–0 1–3 1–3 3–1 3–1 1–3 1–3 1–3 2–2 2–1 2–2
Philadelphia 2–2 4–0 3–1 1–3 3–1 3–1 4–0 3–1 2–2 2–2 3–1 2–2 2–1 4–0 2–2 3–1 2–1 2–2 3–1 3–1 2–2
Phoenix 1–3 2–2 4–0 2–2 2–1 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–1 3–1 4–0 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 3–1 1–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2
Portland 3–1 3–1 3–1 3–1 4–0 1–3 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–1 4–0 4–0 3–1 3–1 1–3 3–0 2–2 3–1 2–2 3–1 2–1
San Antonio 3–1 4–0 3–1 2–2 4–0 1–2 2–1 1–3 3–1 3–1 4–0 2–2 2–2 4–0 3–1 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 2–2 2–2
Seattle 1–2 4–0 3–1 2–2 1–3 3–1 3–1 2–2 4–0 3–1 3–1 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–1 1–3 1–3 2–2 1–3 2–2 1–3
Washington 3–1 3–1 3–1 1–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–2 3–1 1–3 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 4–0 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–2 2–2 3–1

Season Schedule[edit]

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

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Star[edit]

Randy Smith selected as a starting guard for the Eastern Conference All-Stars. This is his second All-Star Game selection and eventually garnered him the All-Star MVP. Smith will be the final Buffalo Braves All-Star.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Buffalo Braves (1970-1978)
  2. ^ "Archibald may be out for season". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. Associated Press. October 15, 1977. p. 7C. 
  3. ^ a b "Celts, Buffalo swap owners; Braves move". Toledo Blade. Ohio. Associated Press. July 8, 1978. p. 15. 
  4. ^ 1977-78 NBA Season Summary - Basketball-Reference.com