1979–80 NBA season

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1979–80 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Duration October 12, 1979 – March 30, 1980
Apr 2–30, 1980 (Playoffs)
May 4–16, 1980 (Finals)
Number of teams 22
TV partner(s) CBS, USA
Draft
Top draft pick Magic Johnson
Picked by Los Angeles Lakers
Regular season
Top seed Boston Celtics
Season MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles)
Top scorer George Gervin (San Antonio)
Playoffs
Eastern champions Philadelphia 76ers
  Eastern runners-up Boston Celtics
Western champions Los Angeles Lakers
  Western runners-up Seattle SuperSonics
Finals
Champions Los Angeles Lakers
  Runners-up Philadelphia 76ers
Finals MVP Magic Johnson (Los Angeles)
NBA seasons

The 1979–80 NBA season was the 34th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals, and is notable for being the year in which the three-point field goal was adopted.

Notable occurrences[edit]

  • The NBA officially adopts the three-point field goal. Boston Celtics guard Chris Ford made the first three-pointer on October 12, 1979, against the Houston Rockets.
  • The number of officials is reduced from three to two following a one-season experiment with three-man officiating crews. The three-official system will be re-adopted permanently for the 1988–89 season.
  • The Jazz relocate from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Salt Lake City, Utah, and move from the Central Division to the Midwest Division (with the Indiana Pacers replacing them).
  • The Kansas City Kings are forced to play most of the season at the Municipal Auditorium after the roof at Kemper Arena collapses due to high wind on June 4, 1979. The Kings played the 1972–73 and 1973–74 seasons at Municipal Auditorium while splitting their home schedule between Kansas City and Omaha.
  • Dr. Jerry Buss purchases the Los Angeles Lakers franchise from Jack Kent Cooke prior to the season.
  • The 1980 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, with the East defeating the West 144–136 in overtime. George Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs wins the game's MVP award.
  • This was the first season the NBA had a cable television partner. The USA Network signed a three-year, 1.5 million dollar deal.
  • This was both Magic Johnson’s and Larry Bird’s rookie seasons and is considered to be the birth of the modern game.[1]
  • Darryl Dawkins broke two backboards: one at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium on November 13, 1979, and a second backboard 23 days later at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Because his dunks resulted in delays while teams went to find another backboard, the NBA eventually modified their basketball rims to make them collapsible.
  • Former NBA official and CBS analyst Mendy Rudolph died on July 4, 1979. All NBA referee shirts sport the No. 5 patch in his honor, and it was retired permanently.
  • Finishing 16–66, the Detroit Pistons suffer the worst NBA record since the infamous 1972–73 76ers won only nine games. In between, no team had won fewer than 22 in a season, but expansion and the availability of more-skilled players from overseas made such poor records more common in subsequent seasons.[2]
Coaching changes
Offseason
Team 1978–79 coach 1979–80 coach
Boston Celtics Dave Cowens Bill Fitch
Chicago Bulls Scotty Robertson Jerry Sloan
Cleveland Cavaliers Bill Fitch Stan Albeck
Houston Rockets Tom Nissalke Del Harris
Los Angeles Lakers Jerry West Paul Westhead
New Orleans/Utah Jazz Elgin Baylor Tom Nissalke
In-season
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Detroit Pistons Dick Vitale Richie Adubato
Golden State Warriors Al Attles Johnny Bach
San Antonio Spurs Doug Moe Bob Bass

Final standings[edit]

By division[edit]

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Boston Celtics 61 21 .744 35–6 26–15 17–7
x-Philadelphia 76ers 59 23 .720 2 36–5 23–18 19–5
x-Washington Bullets 39 43 .476 22 24–17 15–26 9–15
New York Knicks 39 43 .476 22 25–16 14–27 8–16
New Jersey Nets 34 48 .415 27 22–19 12–29 7–17
Central Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Atlanta Hawks 50 32 .610 32–9 18–23 21–9
x-Houston Rockets 41 41 .500 9 29–12 12–29 20–10
x-San Antonio Spurs 41 41 .500 9 27–14 14–27 14–16
Cleveland Cavaliers 37 45 .451 13 28–13 9–32 16–14
Indiana Pacers 37 45 .451 13 26–15 11–30 15–15
Detroit Pistons 16 66 .195 34 13–28 3–38 4–26
Midwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Milwaukee Bucks 49 33 .598 28–12 21–21 15–9
x-Kansas City Kings 47 35 .573 2 30–11 17–24 18–6
Chicago Bulls 30 52 .366 19 21–20 9–32 8–16
Denver Nuggets 30 52 .366 19 24–17 6–35 10–14
Utah Jazz 24 58 .293 25 17–24 7–34 9–15
Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Los Angeles Lakers 60 22 .732 37–4 23–18 19–11
x-Seattle SuperSonics 56 26 .683 4 33–8 23–18 18–12
x-Phoenix Suns 55 27 .671 5 37–5 18–22 19–11
x-Portland Trail Blazers 38 44 .463 22 26–15 12–29 13–17
San Diego Clippers 35 47 .427 25 24–17 11–30 13–17
Golden State Warriors 24 58 .293 36 15–26 9–32 8–22

By conference[edit]

# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Boston Celtics 61 21 .744
2 y-Atlanta Hawks 50 32 .610 11
3 x-Philadelphia 76ers 59 23 .720 2
4 x-Houston Rockets 41 41 .500 20
5 x-San Antonio Spurs 41 41 .500 20
6 x-Washington Bullets 39 43 .476 22
7 New York Knicks 39 43 .476 22
8 Cleveland Cavaliers 37 45 .451 24
8 Indiana Pacers 37 45 .451 24
10 New Jersey Nets 34 48 .415 27
11 Detroit Pistons 16 66 .195 44


# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Los Angeles Lakers 60 22 .732
2 y-Milwaukee Bucks 49 33 .598 11
3 x-Seattle SuperSonics 56 26 .683 4
4 x-Phoenix Suns 55 27 .671 5
5 x-Kansas City Kings 47 35 .573 13
6 x-Portland Trail Blazers 38 44 .463 22
7 San Diego Clippers 35 47 .427 25
8 Chicago Bulls 30 52 .366 30
9 Denver Nuggets 30 52 .366 30
10 Utah Jazz 24 58 .293 36
11 Golden State Warriors 24 58 .293 36

Notes

  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs and first round bye
  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs and first round bye
  • y – Clinched division title and first round bye
  • x – Clinched playoff spot

Playoffs[edit]

Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.

  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                                     
       
  1 Los Angeles 4  
    4 Phoenix 1  
4 Phoenix 2
5 Kansas City 1  
  1 Los Angeles 4  
Western Conference
  3 Seattle 1  
3 Seattle 2  
6 Portland 1  
  3 Seattle 4
    2 Milwaukee 3  
     
       
  W1 Los Angeles 4
  E3 Philadelphia 2
       
       
  1 Boston 4
    4 Houston 0  
4 Houston 2
5 San Antonio 1  
  1 Boston 1
Eastern Conference
  3 Philadelphia 4  
3 Philadelphia 2  
6 Washington 0  
  3 Philadelphia 4
    2 Atlanta 1  
     

Statistics leaders[edit]

Category Player Team Stat
Points per game George Gervin San Antonio Spurs 33.1
Rebounds per game Swen Nater San Diego Clippers 15.0
Assists per game Micheal Ray Richardson New York Knicks 10.1
Steals per game Micheal Ray Richardson New York Knicks 3.23
Blocks per game Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Los Angeles Lakers 3.41
FG% Cedric Maxwell Boston Celtics .609
FT% Rick Barry Houston Rockets .935
3FG% Fred Brown Seattle SuperSonics .443

NBA awards[edit]

Note: All information on this page were obtained on the History section on NBA.com

Players of the week[edit]

Week Player
Oct 12 – 21 Julius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1)
Oct 22 – 28 Michael Ray Richardson (New York Knicks) (1/1)
Oct 29 – Nov 4 Marques Johnson (Milwaukee Bucks) (1/1)
Nov 5 – 11 Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/2)
Nov 12 – 18 Phil Ford (Kansas City Kings) (1/1)
Nov 19 – 25 Walter Davis (Phoenix Suns) (1/1)
Nov 26 – Dec 2 Adrian Dantley (Utah Jazz) (1/1)
Dec 3 – 9 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/2)
Dec 10 – 16 Dan Roundfield (Atlanta Hawks) (1/1)
Dec 17 – 23 Swen Nater (San Diego Clippers) (1/1)
Dec 24 – 30 Mike Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers) (1/1)
Dec 31 – Jan 6 Scott Wedman (Kansas City Kings) (1/1)
Jan 7 – 13 Greg Ballard (Washington Bullets) (1/1)
Jan 14 – 20 Dennis Johnson (Seattle SuperSonics) (1/1)
Jan 21 – 27 George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs) (1/1)
Feb 4 – 10 Rick Barry (Houston Rockets) (1/1)
Feb 11 – 17 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers) (2/2)
Feb 18 – 24 Calvin Natt (New Jersey Nets) (1/1)
Feb 25 – Mar 3 Larry Bird (Boston Celtics) (1/1)
Mar 4 – 10 Cliff Robinson (New Jersey Nets) (1/1)
Mar 11 – 17 Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers) (2/2)
Mar 18 – 24 Billy Ray Bates (Portland Trail Blazers) (1/1)
Mar 25 – 31 Kevin Grevey (Washington Bullets) (1/1)

Players of the month[edit]

Month Player
November Moses Malone (Houston Rockets) (1/1)
December Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers) (1/1)
January George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs) (1/1)
February Larry Bird (Boston Celtics) (1/1)
March Julius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers) (1/1)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Serrano, Shea (2017). Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated. New York: Harry N. Abrams. pp. Introduction. ISBN 1419726471. 
  2. ^ See Berri, David J., Brook, Stacey L., Frick, Bernd, Fenn, Aju J. and Vicente-Mayoral, Roberto; ‘The Short Supply of Tall People: Competitive Imbalance and the National Basketball Association’; Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Dec. 2005), pp. 1029–1041