1977–78 Washington Bullets season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1977–78 Washington Bullets season
NBA champions
Conference champions
Head coachDick Motta
ArenaCapital Centre
Results
Record44–38 (.537)
PlaceDivision: 2nd (Central)
Conference: 3rd (Eastern)
Playoff finishNBA Champions
(Defeated SuperSonics 4–3)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
TelevisionWDCA–TV 20
(Jim Karvellas, Gus Johnson)
RadioWTOP–AM 1500
(Frank Herzog)
< 1976–77 1978–79 >

The 1977–78 Washington Bullets were the world champions of professional basketball, beating the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA Finals, 4 games to 3.

The Bullets got off to a slow start in the regular season, losing 6 of their first 10 games. On January 13, the Bullets beat the defending Champion Portland Trail Blazers to improve to 24–15, capping an 18–5 run over 23 games.[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 a few games above .500 for the rest of the season, the Bullets managed to make the playoffs with a 44–38 record.[1] This would be considered the worst team in NBA history to win a championship with its record of 44–38. The 1968-69 Boston Celtics, 1974-75 Golden State Warriors, 1976-77 Portland Trail Blazers, and 1994-95 Houston Rockets are the only other NBA championship teams to have won below 50 games in non-lockout seasons since 1958; all of them won more than 44 games.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Round Pick Player Nationality College/HS/Club Team
1 4 Greg Ballard (SF) (from Atlanta)  United States Oregon
1 17 Bo Ellis (F)  United States Marquette
2 39 Phil Walker (G)  United States Millersville
3 57 Steve Puidokas (from Chicago)  United States Washington State
3 61 Jerry Schellenberg  United States Wake Forest
4 83 David Reavis  United States Georgia
5 105 Bruce Parkinson  United States Purdue
6 127 Ernie Wansley  United States Virginia Tech
7 147 Calvin Brown  United States American
8 166 Pat McKinley  United States Towson State

Roster[edit]

Washington Bullets roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
F 42 Ballard, Greg 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Oregon
G 45 Chenier, Phil 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 180 lb (82 kg) California
SF 10 Dandridge, Bob 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Norfolk State
F 35 Grevey, Kevin 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Kentucky
G 14 Henderson, Tom 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Hawaiʻi
C 11 Hayes, Elvin 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Houston
PF 25 Kupchak, Mitch 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) North Carolina
G 15 Johnson, Charles 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 170 lb (77 kg) California
C 44 Pace, Joe 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Coppin State
F 41 Unseld, Wes 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Louisville
G 32 Wright, Larry 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 160 lb (73 kg) Grambling State
Head coach

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

Season standings[edit]

Central Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-San Antonio Spurs 52 30 .634 32–9 20–21 15–5
x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 8 29–12 15–26 14–6
x-Cleveland Cavaliers 43 39 .524 9 27–14 16–25 9–11
x-Atlanta Hawks 41 41 .500 11 29–12 12–29 8–12
New Orleans Jazz 39 43 .476 13 27–14 12–29 8–12
Houston Rockets 28 54 .341 24 21-20 7-34 6–14
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Philadelphia 76ers 55 27 .671
2 y-San Antonio Spurs 52 30 .634 3
3 x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 11
4 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 43 39 .524 12
5 x-New York Knicks 43 39 .524 12
6 x-Atlanta Hawks 41 41 .500 14
7 New Orleans Jazz 39 43 .476 16
8 Boston Celtics 32 50 .390 23
9 Houston Rockets 28 54 .341 27
10 Buffalo Braves 27 55 .329 28
11 New Jersey Nets 24 58 .293 31



Regular season[edit]

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

Game log[edit]

Key:      Win      Loss

Notes:

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

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 81 1075 149 96 159 1598 19.7
Bob Dandridge 75 442 287 101 44 1450 19.3
Mitch Kupchak 67 460 71 28 42 1066 15.9
Kevin Grevey 81 290 155 61 17 1253 15.5
Phil Chenier 36 102 73 36 9 509 14.1
Tom Henderson 75 193 406 93 15 857 11.4
Larry Wright 70 102 260 68 15 642 9.2
Charles Johnson 39 93 82 31 1 324 8.3
Wes Unseld 80 955 326 98 45 607 7.6
Greg Ballard 76 266 62 30 13 372 4.9
Phil Walker 40 52 54 14 5 178 4.5
Joe Pace 49 134 23 12 24 191 3.9
Total 82 4164 1948 668 386 9047 110.3

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 two trips to the NBA Finals (by Milwaukee in 1971 and Golden State in 1975), 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]

(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]

Key:      Win      Loss

Notes:

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

Playoffs 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 21 279 43 32 52 457 21.8
Bob Dandridge 19 123 74 30 14 402 21.1
Kevin Grevey 21 61 42 11 3 325 15.5
Charles Johnson 21 53 48 30 0 215 10.2
Mitch Kupchak 21 127 22 4 3 213 10.1
Tom Henderson 21 47 106 27 5 202 9.6
Wes Unseld 18 216 79 17 7 169 9.4
Larry Wright 21 31 67 17 2 171 8.1
Greg Ballard 19 79 18 9 3 74 3.9
Joe Pace 9 20 1 1 6 25 2.8
Phil Walker 4 2 2 0 0 6 1.5
Total 21 1038 502 178 95 2259 114.1

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]