NEW FROM STRAT-O-MATIC:
A SEASON TO REMEMBER IN TWO LEAGUES
1975-76 Ended in Spectacular Fashion for Both the NBA and the
By Glenn Guzzo
The most memorable playoff game in NBA history can come to life through Strat-O-Matic when the 1975-76 season debuts on computer disk this summer. That’s the year the Boston Celtics of John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Charlie Scott and Jo Jo White won a triple-overtime thriller in Game 5 of the finals against the Phoenix Suns of Paul Westphal, Gar Heard and Alvan Adams.
The Celtics, the top team in the East with 54 wins, reached the finals after disposing of 46-win Buffalo (who had 31-point, 12-rebound Bob McAdoo, the NBA’s leading scorer), then a deep, 49-win Cleveland team with seven players who averaged in double figures (including Jim Chones, Bobby Smith, Campy Russell and Austin Carr).
The 42-40 Suns were heavy underdogs against
The 18-team NBA had 15 men who averaged at least 20 points per game and 11 who averaged double figures in both scoring and rebounding.
The best included Los Angeles’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (28 ppg, 17 rpg), Cowens (19 ppg, 16 rpg), New Orleans’ Pete Maravich (26 ppg, 5 apg, 5 rpg), Kansas City’s Nate “Tiny” Archibald (25 ppg, 8 apg), Detroit’s Bob Lanier (21 ppg, 12 rpg), Washington’s Elvin Hayes (20 ppg, 11 rpg), Portland’s young Bill Walton (16 ppg, 13 rpg), New York’s Walt Frazier (19 ppg, 7 rpg, 6 apg), Buffalo’s Randy Smith (22 ppg, 6 apg, 5 rpg), Houston’s Calvin Murphy (21 ppg, 7 apg) and two recent defectors from the American Basketball Association, Philadelphia’s George McGinnis (23 ppg, 12.6 rpg) and New York’s Spencer Haywood (20 ppg, 11 rpg).
Showcasing the final, tumultuous season of the flamboyant
Ostensibly a 10-team league, the
When the ‘75-76 champ Denver Nuggets, runner-up New York Nets, the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers were accepted into the NBA the following year, the NBA accepted only the most talent-rich teams. The NBA then drafted the best of the rest – stars like Moses Malone, Maurice Lucas and Artis Gilmore.
The 1976-77 NBA finals featured a winner,
On the court in its final season, the
The Nets won 55 with league-leading scorer Erving (29.3 ppg, 11 rpg, 5 apg), who also dominated in the playoffs, plus a pair of 16-plus point guards, Brian Taylor and John Williamson.