June 5- Portland Trail Blazers win the 1977 NBA Championship behind Bill Walton's 8 Blocks in Game 6
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
1977- On this date in Sports History, the Portland Trail Blazers won Game 6 of the 1977 NBA Finals to win their only NBA Championship in franchise history. The Blazers won Game 6 behind Bill Walton’s NBA record 8 blocks in a NBA Finals game. They won the game behind an excellent 2nd quarter where they outscored the Philadelphia 76er’s 40-28. The 76er’s fought back in the second half but the Blazers were able to hang on to win the game 109-107. Bill Walton finished the game with an excellent stat line of 20 points, 23 rebounds, and 8 blocks. The Blazers also had Bob Gross and Lionel Hollins each add 24 points and 20 points, respectively. Julius Erving led the 76er’s with 40 points in the loss. The Portland area’s famous rallying behind the Trail Blazers team became known as Blazermania.
The Trail Blazers won the 1977 NBA Championship after finishing in last place of the Pacfic Division the season before. The amazing turnaround came behind the hiring of the future Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay and adding seven different players from the year before. In the ABA dispersal draft the year before, the Blazers drafted Maurice Lucas who became a key player for the team.
The Blazers became known for their amazing team basketball that year. It led them to finishing the 1977 regular season with a 49-33 record and a 2nd place finish in the Pacific Division. It also meant it was their first winning record and playoff appearance in franchise history. They’d go on to defeat the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Lakers to make their first NBA Finals. The Philadelphia 76er’s were favored to beat the Blazers in the Finals. The 76er’s won the first two games of the series. However the turning point in the series came with five minutes left in Game 2 when a brawl broke out and the Blazers did not back down to the 76er’s. The Blazers would go on to win Game 3, 4, and 5 by an average of 20 points. They’d finish off the series in Game 6 to win Portland’s only NBA Championship in their first ever playoff appearance in franchise history.
Bill Walton’s eight blocks on this day in 1977 broke the record for most blocks in a NBA Finals game. The record was matched four other times but still stood for 32 years until Dwight Howard got nine blocks for the Orlando Magic in a game in the 2009 NBA Finals.
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Higdon, David. “Blazermania.” NBA Encyclopedia, NBA
“Philadelphia 76ers at Portland Trail Blazers Box Score, June 5, 1977.” Basketball Reference