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Thread: The Association: What If?

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    The Association: What If?



    I’ll be rebooking the NBA starting the 1978 season when the three point line was added, which opened up the game. We’ll be looking at “what if” scenarios and making them realities in our new timeline to see just how they’d change the course of NBA history.

    1978 Off-Season



    Larry “Legend” Bird opted not to return to college for his senior season at Indiana State and stayed in the draft. With the Indiana Pacers having the first pick, they drafted the hometown kid first overall in the 1978 NBA Draft. With the second overall pick, the Kansas City Kings would select guard Maurice Cheeks out of West Texas A&M. He was an all-Missouri Valley Conference player for three straight seasons, as he averaged 16.8 points per game and shot nearly 57% for his collegiate career. With the third overall pick, the Portland Trail Blazers select guard Michael Ray Richardson. As a senior, Richardson averaged 24.2 points and 6.9 rebounds in 1977-1978 and Montana finished 20-8, capturing the Big Sky regular season title. Richardson was First team All-Big Sky Conference as a sophomore, junior and senior. With the fourth overall pick, the New York Knicks select guard Reggie Theus from UNLV. Theus played under coach Jerry Tarkanian from 1976 to 1978, averaging 12.9 points, 4.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.



    With Larry Bird now the future at the small forward position for Indiana, they would trade their former starter at the position, Alex English and a 1979 first round pick to the New York Knicks for power forward/center Bob McAdoo.


    Game 5, June 1,1979
    1979 NBA Finals
    #1. Seattle SuperSonics (4) vs. #1. Washington Bullets (1)

    Box score
    1 2 3 4 T
    SEA 19 24 31 31 97
    WSB 30 21 24 24 93

    Top performers

    Seattle SuperSonics Washington Bullets
    Pts: Gus Johnson 23 Pts: Elvin Hayes 29
    Rebs: Jack Sikma 17 Rebs: Elvin Hayes 14
    Asts: John Johnson 6 Asts: Bob Dandridge 7
    (Back home, Elvin Hayes had a hot first half, scoring 20, but injuries to starting guards Tom Henderson, Kevin Grevey and prolong poor shooting by their replacements took their toll. Hayes had only nine points in the second half as Seattle closed out the series. SuperSonics, Dennis Johnson, was Finals MVP.)

    Other NBA Awards: MVP - Houston Rockets - Moses Malone; Rookie of the Year - Indiana Pacers - Larry Bird (Phil Ford in real life); Coach of the Year - Kansas City Kings - Cotton Fitzsimmons

    Regular Season Statistical Leaders: San Antonio Spurs - George Gervin - 29.6ppg; Houston Rockets - Moses Malone - 17.6rpg; Detroit Pistons - Kevin Porter - 13.4apg; Detroit Pistons - M.L. Carr - 2.46spg; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Los Angeles Lakers - 3.95bpg; Cedric Maxwell - Boston Celtics - .584fg%; Rick Barry - Houston Rockets - .947ft%


    Last edited by Vince Russo; 03-25-2019 at 04:47 AM.

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    Re: The Association: What If?

    1979 Off-Season

    With the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls having the two worst records of their conferences, they’d have a coin flipped for them to determine who gets the first and second overall picks. The Bulls would win the coin flip and the Knicks would be selecting second. With the first overall pick the Chicago Bulls drafted Magic Johnson. From Michigan State University. During the 1978-79 season, Michigan State would advance to the championship game and faced DePaul (Indiana State in real life) where they’d win 89-83. With the second overall pick the New York Knicks would select guard Sidney Moncrief from Arkansas. Moncrief helped lead Arkansas to the 1978 NCAA Final Four. The third pick did belong to the New Orleans Jazz, however, back in 1974, when the New Orleans Jazz signed Gail Goodridge from the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA forced the Jazz to compensate the Lakers with picks. One of those picks being their 1979 1st round pick. As a result, the Los Angeles Lakers will be selecting third overall. Not being impressed with the choices available, Jerry Buss would contact bitter rival, Boston Celtics and he and Red Auerbach agreed to a trade. The Lakers would receive Tiny Archibald, hoping he’d recover from his achilles injury that kept him from playing the entire 1977-78 season and Boston would receive the third pick.

    With the third overall pick overall pick the Boston Celtics select center Bill Laimbeer from Notre Dame. Laimbeer played a Sleestak on the children’s TV series Land of the Lost before attending Notre Dame. With the fourth overall pick the Detroit Pistons select center Bill Cartwright from San Francisco. Cartwright was a consensus second team all-American in 1977 and 1979, where he averaged 19.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Cartwright led the Dons to three trips to the NCAA tournament, to the first round in 1977 and to the Sweet Sixteen in both 1978 and 1979. With the fifth overall pick the Milwaukee Bucks select guard Jim Paxson from Dayton. Paxson was a three-time team MVP and earned All-America honors as a senior after averaging more than 23 points per game. He also averaged 17 points as a junior and 18 points as a sophomore at Dayton.

    The champs would be picking sixth after acquiring this pick from New York in a 1975 trade. With the sixth overall pick the SuperSonics would select forward Calvin Natt from Northeast Louisiana. With another lottery pick the Milwaukee Bucks would select center Mark Eaton with the seventh overall selection from Cypress junior college. At 7’4 290lbs, Eaton was more interested in playing water polo than basketball. A chemistry professor who was also an assistant basketball coach for Cypress discovered Eaton repairing cars and convinced Eaton to enroll at Cypress and try out for the basketball team. Eaton averaged 14.3 points per game in two seasons and led them to the California State Title as a sophomore.


    Some free agent movement involved the Milwaukee Bucks (Boston Celtics in real life) signing point guard Gerald Henderson and small forward Allan Bristow signing with the Houston Rockets (New Orleans in real life). They would send small forward Jacky Dorsey back as compensation.

    1979-80 season




    “THE MEETING”
    January 11, 1980 - Chicago Stadium
    Bird vs. Magic

    For weeks America had been talking about Pacers vs Bulls and how they couldn’t wait to see sophomore Larry Bird take on rookie Magic Johnson. It’s all they talked about in both Indianapolis’ and Chicago’s media outlets. We had “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen, “The Shining” starring Jack Nicholson and “The Meeting” of Bird and Magic. These two would go at each other like cats and dogs, one upping the other. Magic was the only one to visibly show he was having fun with his huge smile, but you could just tell The Hick from French Lick was having a blast against this dynamic rookie. You’d almost forget the battle in the paint between Artis Gilmore and Bob McAdoo, which would’ve been the marquee match-up if not for the former two. It was their time, their night and they didn’t disappoint. Larry Bird would finish the game with 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. While Magic Johnson would total 29 points 10 rebs, 17 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, while also leading his team to victory 99-97, after hitting a running floater at the buzzer to win it for Chicago. WGN-TV’s Bob Costas was on the play-by-play where he fumbled to get last play out, he was so hyped for the finish. Add it to the list of great Chicago sports moments.


    Players/Teams On The Rise

    The New York Knickerbockers have a fun young quartet in Ray Williams, Reggie Theus, Sidney Moncrief and Alex English as they led the Knicks to the Atlantic Division crown.

    The Milwaukee Bucks have built quite the force and they're deep with Marques Johnson, Brian Winters, Junior Bridgeman, Dave Myers, Quinn Buckner, Bob Lanier, Gerald Henderson, Jim Paxson, Kent Benson and Mark Eaton. They won the Midwest Division this season, but had unfortunate playoff success when they lost Marques Johnson and Junior Bridgemen for key games in the second round.

    Dr. J is a highlight reel and his supporting cast Darryl Dawkins and Bobby Jones are fantastic as well, but they’re a lead guard away from really competing with Indiana, New York and Atlanta in the east.

    The Tiny Archibald trade to Laker Land really worked out for the purple and gold and Kareem. And with the supporting casts of Michael Cooper, Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon they’ll compete as one of the top teams in the west, but that’s not good enough for LA with their pedigree. What other championship pieces will they acquire to get back on top?


    Game 7
    1980 NBA Finals
    #1. Seattle SuperSonics (1) vs. #1. Indiana Pacers (1)

    Box score
    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 30 24 24 25 103
    SEA 20 21 29 25 95


    Top performers

    Indiana Pacers Seattle SuperSonics
    Pts: Larry Bird 35 Pts: Gus Williams 25
    Rebs: Bob McAdoo 10 Rebs: Jack Sikma 12
    Asts: Johnny Davis 8 Asts: Gus Williams 7
    (Larry Bird would get things going early in the first quarter, scoring 12 points. After being slowed down in the second and third quarters, Bird would catch fire and score 13 points in the fourth. Gus Johnson had a hot second half, scoring 17 but couldn’t get enough help from Sikma and Dennis to pull it out as Indiana closes out the series. Indiana Pacers Larry Bird was Finals MVP.)

    Other NBA Awards: MVP - Indiana Pacers - Larry Bird; Rookie of the Year - Chicago Bulls - Magic Johnson; Coach of the Year - New York Knicks - Red Holzman

    Regular Season Statistical Leaders: San Antonio Spurs - George Gervin - 33.1ppg; San Diego Clippers - Swen Nater - 15rpg; Los Angeles Lakers - Tiny Archibald - 9.7apg; Portland Trailblazers - Michael Ray Richardson - 3.23spg; Los Angeles Lakers - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 3.41bpg; Chicago Bulls - Artis Gilmore - .604FG%; Houston Rockets - Rick Barry - .935ft%; Seattle SuperSonics - Fred Brown - .443 3fg%
    Last edited by Vince Russo; 03-29-2019 at 10:06 PM.

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    Re: The Association: What If?

    1980 Off-Season

    The two worst records of the previous season belonged to the Detroit Pistons and Utah Avalanche (who just moved from New Orleans and re-branded from the Jazz the season before.) Detroit would win the preliminary coin flip, giving them the first overall pick and Utah the second pick. With the first overall pick the Detroit Pistons selected forward center Kevin McHale. McHale played power forward for the University of Minnesota from 1976 to 1980, averaging 15.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He was All-Big Ten in 1979 and 1980. McHale would have an encounter with Chuck Foreman, a famous Minnesota Viking, in the Gopher locker room after a big game. Foreman was congratulating the Gophers on a hard-fought victory when he got to unknown power forward, who displayed his comic wait: “Nice to meet you, Mr. Foreman. What do you do for a living?” With the second overall pick the Utah Avalanche would select center Joe Barry Carroll from Purdue University. On December 10, 1977 he scored the school’s only triple-double with 16 points, 16 rebounds and a single-game school record 11 blocks. He recorded 206 rebounds and averaged 7.4 a game in his first season, the most for a Purdue freshman.

    He holds the freshman record for most blocks in a season with 82. With the third overall pick the Golden State Warriors select forward Kiki Vandeweghe from UCLA. Kiki played four seasons at UCLA. With first time collegiate head coach, Larry Brown, the senior Kiki led the Bruins all the way to the 1979-80 NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament final, losing to the University of Louisville. With the fourth overall pick the Denver Nuggets select guard Andrew Toney from Southwestern Louisiana. With the fifth overall pick the San Diego Clippers would select forward center Rick Mahorn from Hampton University. He won the NCAA Division II three times and owns 18 school records. The Clippers would trade star center Bill Walton, who missed the entire 1978-79 season and only played 14 games in the 1979-80 season due to a foot injury, to the Denver Nuggets for a 1981 first round pick and Kim Hughes. With the sixth pick, the New Jersey Nets would select forward Kurt Rambis from Santa Clara University where he played from 1976 to 1980, becoming its second leading rebounder all-time leading scorer with 1,736 points. During his Santa Clara years he was awarded the WCC Freshman of the Year and Conference Player of the Year as a senior.

    Doc and gang would find their new lead guard with a trade with the New York Knicks. Philadelphia would acquire fourth year guard Ray Williams, who’d be the odd man out of a recent crowded back-court of Sidney Moncrief and Reggie Theus. The Knicks would get back 1981 and 1982 first round picks from the Sixers. With the seventh pick the Boston Celtics select guard Darrell Griffith from Louisville. He delivered Louisville’s first ever NCAA men’s basketball championship this past season. He scored 23 points in the Cardinals’ 59-54 victory over UCLA in the title game. Due to his strong performance, he was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Griffith totaled 825 points in his senior season, setting a school record. For his efforts, he was named First Team All-American by the Associated Press and was given the Wooden Award as the best college basketball player in the nation. He left college as Louisville's all-time leading scorer with 2.333 points in his career. He’d drop some spots in the draft surprisingly as he’d been talked about all year along as being the consensus number pick or at least top two.


    We’ve Got Expansion

    The Dallas Mavericks become the league’s 23rd franchise. As a result, the NBA realigns four of its teams to better reflect their geographical locations (the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls move to the Eastern Conference and the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets to the Western Conference.)

    Summer Movement

    The San Antonio Spurs would sign center George Johnson. The Dallas Mavericks hire Dick Motto as head coach.





    “THE COMEBACK STORY”
    Bill Walton


    From working his tail off to recovery from a nearly career ending foot injury to anchoring a NBA Championship team defense. The story is complete. Bill Walton is back folks! The red, curly haired beanstalk would begin the year rusty, adjusting to his new teammate and more importantly, playing not to get hurt again. Teammates Alex English, David Thompson and rookie Andrew Toney (later in the season) looked to get the big man involved in games early, knowing they’d need Big Red to show up huge--no pun intended--if their seasons goal would have any realistic chance of happening. That goal being to become NBA champions and the Nuggets went from having an aspiration to knowing they had what it took to win it all, on a Sunday night, February 4th. The Nuggets were at the defending champs Seattle SuperSonics who were on an eleven game win streak at home. Before the game, Walton spoke to the press and said it feels good, the foot feels the best it’s felt in some time. We’d see what he meant come game time when coach Donnie Walsh would try to sit him after his regular minutes allocation. But with Denver being up three with a little over six minutes to go, Walton said no way, no way I’m sitting.

    Denver would ride Big Red for the rest of the quarter as Seattle’s Jack Sikma, Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and Calvin Natt worked in tandem to extend the streak to twelve. Walton nor Denver would be denied that night, with Walton coming up with a key block on DJ--all ball--that would’ve put them up two with a minute to go. On the other end of the floor, Walton would draw the foul on an and-one jump hook shot over Sikma to put his team up three. Seattle would look for one of the NBA’s best three point shooters, Fred Brown, on the other end to try to tie the game up and force overtime, but the guess who… Bill Walton would sniff it out and jump in front of the pass from Gus Johnson to seal the victory 92-89. After the game, Walton told reporter Denver fans should keep the snow gear packed away a little longer because he’s got a feeling their season is going to be a little longer this year.



    Players/Teams On The Rise

    The Detroit Pistons would be a surprising playoff team, pulling themselves out of the gutter with ROY Kevin McHale and sophomore Bill Cartwright. The young front-court tandem ate up defenses inside this season. How will they fare next season when teams adjust?

    The Knicks trio of Sidney Moncrief, Alex English and Reggie Theus continue to improve and excite The Big Apple with their fun play, but still can’t get past Indiana. With two extra first round picks coming from Philadelphia, will they be able to add pieces to take them to the next level?

    Chicago’s Magic Johnson continues to stay neck and neck with last season’s MVP, Larry Bird. They two continue to be the best two young players in the league and one of the biggest rivalries. Magic would lead Chicago to the postseason with stellar big man Artis Gilmore, but would come up short. How can the Bulls get better this summer? Does Magic have another gear? The Pacers are disappointed with not being able to defend their title this season, falling in the east to Dr. J and Philly. With Bob McAdoo soon to be 30 years old, Indiana will need to add young beside Bird to keep atop the east. After trading their 1979 first round pick to New York to acquire McAdoo, their a year behind in adding such youth. What will they do prolong their contendership?

    The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t have much going on these days, but one bright spot is third year guard Phil Ford who racks up assists on a nightly basis. Ford, Mike Mitchell and Kenny Carr haven’t figured out how to win yet, but the talent is there. We’ll see if coach Bill Musselman can get these young guys winning next season or he may be on the hot seat…

    Houston Rockets Moses Malone managed to lead the league in scoring and rebounding this season by the way, in the midst of all the other marquee names having big years. The Chairman is in his early prime and had an impressive playoff run, taking the number two seed Denver Nuggets to seven games in the Conference Semifinals. What does Houston do to take the next step?


    Playoff Standings

    Eastern Conference
    1 z-Indiana Pacers 63 19
    2 y-Philadelphia 76ers 63 19
    3 x-Milwaukee Bucks 57 25
    4 x-New York Knicks 52 30
    5 x-Chicago Bulls 51 31
    6 x-Detroit Pistons 44 38


    Western Conference
    1 c-Seattle SuperSonics 60 22
    2 y-Denver Nuggets 56 26
    3 x-Los Angeles Lakers 51 31
    4 x-San Antonio Spurs 50 32
    5 x-Portland Trail Blazers 48 34
    6 x-Houston Rockets 43 39


    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

    First Round - Western Conference

    4 San Antonio Spurs 2
    5 Portland Trail Blazers 1

    3 Los Angeles Lakers 1
    6 Houston Rockets 2

    Conference Semifinals - Western Conference

    1 Seattle SuperSonics 4
    5 Portland Trail Blazers 2

    6 Houston Rockets 3
    2 Denver Nuggets 4

    Conference Finals - Western Conference

    1 Seattle SuperSonics 3
    2 Denver Nuggets 4

    First Round - Eastern Conference

    4 New York Knicks 2
    5 Chicago Bulls 1

    3 Milwaukee Bucks 2
    6 Detroit Pistons 1

    Conference Semifinals - Eastern Conference

    1 Indiana Pacers 4
    4 New York Knicks 3

    3 Milwaukee Bucks 3
    2 Philadelphia 76ers 4

    Conference Finals - Eastern Conference

    1 Indiana Pacers 3
    2 Philadelphia 76ers 4


    Game 6
    1981 NBA Finals
    #1 Philadelphia 76ers (2) vs. #1 Denver Nuggets (2)

    Box Score
    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 29 19 30 26 104
    PHI 28 24 27 21 100

    Top Performers

    Denver Nuggets Philadelphia 76ers
    Pts: Alex English 29 Pts: Julius Erving 40
    Rebs: Bill Walton 13 Rebs: Caldwell Jones 10
    Asts: Kenny Higgs 7 Asts: Ray Williams 9

    (A shoot out between Dr. J and English early on with both men unable to miss. Things would settle in the second as Ray Williams would take over the offense load for Doc who got into foul trouble. Walton would challenge nearly everything at the rim during the period. Bobby Jones would slow down Issel, who would be quiet offensively in the contest. David Thompson would catch fire and show up clutch in the fourth to close it out at home for Denver. Alex English wins Finals MVP.)

    Other NBA Awards: MVP - Philadelphia 76ers - Julius Erving; Rookie of the Year - Detroit Pistons - Kevin McHale; Coach of the Year - Detroit Pistons - Scotty Robertson

    Regular Season Statistical Leaders: Houston Rockets - Moses Malone - 27.8; Houston Rockets - Moses Malone - 14.8rpg; Washington Bullets - Kevin Porter - 9.1apg; Chicago Bulls - Magic Johnson - 3.43spg; San Antonio Spurs - George Johnson - 3.39bpg; Chicago Bulls - Artis Gilmore - .670fg%; Houston Rockets - Calvin Murphy - .958ft%; San Diego Clippers - Brian Taylor - .383 3fg%
    Last edited by Vince Russo; 03-27-2019 at 12:52 AM.

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    Re: The Association: What If?

    1981 Off-Season

    The two worst records of the last season were the expansion team Dallas Mavericks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers would win the coin clip to win the first overall pick and the Mavericks would be picking second. With the first overall pick the Cleveland Cavaliers would select guard Isiah Thomas from Indiana University. Thomas was told before committing to Indiana that Hoosier coach Bob Knight tied up his players and beat them. This didn’t scare Thomas who chose to go to Indiana anyways. The partnership between Knight and Thomas began rocky as Knight would threaten to send Isiah home on a plane from the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico. Knight told Thomas “You ought to go to DePaul, Isiah, because you sure as hell aren’t going to be an Indiana player playing like that.” Thomas would quickly improve his skills as a player and became a favorite with both Knight and the Indiana fans. His superior abilities eventually caused Knight to adjust his coaching style. Fans displayed bedsheets with quotations from Book of Isaiah (“And a little child shall lead them”) and nicknamed him “Mr. Wonderful.” Because of Thomas’ short stature at 6’1, coach Knight would call him Pee Wee. Thomas helped lead the Hoosiers to the Big Ten championship and advanced to the 1980 Sweet Sixteen.

    The next year, Knight made Thomas captain and told him to run the show on the floor. A Purdue player would take a cheap shot at Thomas and Knight would call a press conference to defend him. A few weeks later, Thomas hit an Iowa player and was ejected and Knight refused to criticize him. Thomas and the Hoosiers once again won a conference title and won the 1981 NCAA Tournament. The sophomore Isiah earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. With the second overall pick, the Dallas Mavericks select forward center Buck Williams from Maryland University. Buck won the 1979 ACC Rookie of the Year award and led the ACC in rebounding in 1979 and 1981. He averaged 15.5 points per game in his sophomore and junior years and earned All-ACC honors in 1980 and 1981. National recognition of his performance came when he was selected to the 1980 USA Olympic basketball team. With the third overall pick the Utah Avalanche select hometown kid, forward center Tom Chambers from the University of Utah. With the fourth overall pick the Boston Celtics select forward center Larry Nance from Clemson University. With the fifth overall pick the New Jersey Nets select guard forward Mark Aguirre from DePaul University.

    Aguirre averaged 24.5 points over three seasons with the Blue Demons and was named The Sporting News College Player of the Year this past season. He was also the USBWA College Player of the Year and James Naismith Award winner in 1980 and a 2-time member of The Sporting News’ All-American first team. In 1978-79 he lead DePaul to the final four as a freshman. He was named a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic basketball team in 1980. With the sixth overall pick the Phoenix Suns select guard Rolando Blackman from Kansas State University. In 1980 he was named the Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and All-American. He was a three-time unanimous All-Big Eight selection. He was three times named Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year. He scored 1,844 career points, the second highest in Kansas state history. He was selected to the 1980 Summer Olympic basketball team. This past season he led his eighth seeded Wildcats to the West Regional against UNC but loss. With the seventh overall pick the San Diego Clippers select guard forward Kelly Tripucka from Notre Dame. Kelly was a four-year starter and led the Irish in scoring each year, where he led them to the NCAA Tournament each year.

    The Chicago Bulls would trade the sixteenth pick and Larry Kenon to the Atlanta Hawks for the eight pick, which they used to select forward Orlando Woolridge from Notre Dame. Woolridge started every game as a sophomore, junior and senior. He helped lead the Fighting Irish to the NCAA tournament in 1980 and 1981. The 6-9 forward played center in 1979-80 where he made 58.5 percent of his field goals. He was named to The Sporting News All-American Second-Team this past season. The Hawks would send the sixteenth pick and Dan Roundfield to the Indiana Pacers for Bob McAdoo. With the ninth pick the Golden State Warriors select guard Danny Ainge from Brigham Young. He hit a march madness coast to coast shot with seven seconds to go against Notre Dame in this past seasons NCAA tournament to give the Cougars a one-point win. Ainge would win the Eastman Award and John R. Wooden Award--given to the best collegiate player in the nation--this past year. During his four-year career, Ainge was an All-American, a two-time First Team All-American, the WAC Player of the Year and a four-time All-WAC selection. He concluded his college career having scored in double figures in 112 consecutive game, a current NCAA record.

    He was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1977 amateur draft and made it to the majors in 1979, but after three years in the MLB has decided to commit to basketball. With the tenth pick the San Diego Clippers would select forward center Herb Williams from Ohio State University. Herb was a four-year staters for the Buckeyes, scoring 2,011 points (a team record) and pulling down 1,111 rebounds (second in team history.) Williams is the school leader in career field goals made, with 834 in 114 games. He is second all-time in career blocked shots with 328. Down the draft, with the sixteenth pick the Indiana Pacers select forward center Alton Lister from Arizona State University. He averaged 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds as a senior. He helped lead the Sun Devils to a school record of 16-2 in the Pac-10 and 24-4 overall, being ranked fifth in the nation this past year. They would cap their season off with a win over top ranked undefeated Oregon State. Lister earned honorable mention All-America honors by the Associated Press and Street & Smith’s All-Pac 10 honors and his team’s Most Improved Player award.


    Changes to the Game

    After years of success in NCAA basketball, the breakaway rim became standardized equipment in the NBA.

    The three-to-make two free throw rule, along with the two-to-make one rule (both used when a team exceed five team fouls in a quarter), were both eliminated.

    Summer Movement

    Houston Rockets Rudy Tomjanovich asked for a release which is granted. Rudy then signs with the Los Angeles Lakers. Mitch Kupchak signs with the Chicago Bulls.





    “THE MEETING...TO REACH THE FINALS!"
    Eastern Conference Finals
    Game 7
    Bird vs. Magic

    And the rivalry continues… and it’s brought NBA championship implications with it. You know who… Larry Bird and Magic Johnson! With the Bulls moving to the Eastern Conference last season due to league realignment, it was only a matter of time before these two foes met in the post-season and what a meeting it was. With just 182 miles between Market Square Arena (Indianapolis) and Chicago Stadium, Pacer and Bulls fans would pack each arena, as they’d travel to see the most must-see series of the 1981 playoffs. But to be fair, these fans would’ve done the same thing if these teams were on opposite ends of the country from each other… Magic, Gilmore, Dwight Jones and rookie high-riser Orlando Woolridge would duke it out with Bird, Roundfield, Johnny Davis and Don Buse. Game one saw Magic have a spectacular 25pts-10rebs-12ast-3stls-2blks night as they took the first game in Indiana. Bird not happy with his play in the contest would answer in game two with 33pts-9rebs-7asts-2stls-1blk as Indiana would win at home by four points. In game three, things got chippy between Artis Gilmore and Dan Roundfield, with Gilmore getting ejected after a hard technical foul on his opponent.

    Dan had been frustrating Artis all night and the Chicago center wanted to make the message clear for game four, as Indiana had game three all but sealed with less than a minute to go. In game four, Artis and Magic would combine for 60 points as they’d tie the series up in Chicago. Magic and Bird’s statline for game five was overshadowed by the brawl that broke out in the third quarter, where both benches cleared. Gilmore had taken Buse down hard after he’d drove it inside. It was Gilmore’s elbow that connected on the 6’4 190lbs point guard, that bursted him open good. George McGinnis and Gilmore would throw blows at each other, before being separated by Magic and Bird. After the dust settled Indiana would win it by two points, with Bird putting up 37pts-10rbs-6asts-3stls. Magic produced 23pts-12rebs-14asts-2stls-2blks. In game six we’d need three overtimes to decide it, with Magic connecting with Woolridge for an alley-oop in the final seconds to give the Bulls a two point win and forcing game 7. Game 7 was flat statistically for Bird and Magic, but they’d get their teammates involved who would rise to the occasion. Some key possessions the decided this was a charge referee Jack Madden called on Magic, as he drove in on Roundfield to put Chicago up four late.

    Bulls coach Jerry Sloan, Magic and Bulls would argue Roundfields feet weren’t set, but that was the call. Another controversial call was Dwight Jones and Mike Banton were both going for the ball, when it bounced off Jones’ knee and looked to roll off the top of Banton’s foot before going out of bounds, but it was ruled out on Chicago. The Pacers would get the ball back, where Bird would nail a three on the other end and put Boston up one. Bulls, Ricky Sobers would put up a nineteen foot jumper from the side that look like it’d just grazed the side of the rim, where Gilmore would grab the ball and lay it up to put the Bulls up one late. The refs would call it off saying the ball never touched the cylinder and resulted in a shot clock violation. Sloan was enraged and nearly got himself ejected if not for staff and Magic calming him down. Bulls couldn’t force a Pacer turnover and had to foul Bird with seconds to go who’d it both free throws and gave Indiana a 95-92 victory and their second title in three years.


    What Happened Around The Association?

    Cleveland’s Rookie of the Year, Isiah Thomas is a stud, averaging 21 points per game, 8 assists and over 2 steals per game. He and Phil Ford have good chemistry as they gelled well with Cliff Robinson, Kenny Carr and Mike Mitchell. The Cavs would increase their wins by 10 games under coach Don Delaney, who took over duties for Bill Musselman, halfway through the season.

    In Portland, Michael Ray Richardson, T.R. Dunn, Vinnie Johnson, Ron Brewer, Tom Owens and Maurice Lucas are an impressive group of young vets that just missed the playoffs under coach Jack Ramsay. The microwave scoring of Vinnie and lockdown defense of Dunn is quite the tandem on the perimeter. We’ll see what Portland can do this off-season to get back to the postseason.

    In Phoenix Truck Robinson, Walter Davis, Kyle Macy, Alvan Adams and rookie Ronaldo Blackman surprised some folks and made the playoffs this year. Phoenix looks to have a nice trio in Truck, Davis and Blackman going forward with complementary role players. We’ll see if it was just a fluke or if they’re for real this coming season.

    Th Utah Avalanche have a nice young trio in Adrian Dantley, high flier Tom Chambers and Joe Barry Carroll. They’re fun to watch, but young and lost a lot this season--as expected. With another lotto pick coming, we’ll see just how the Avalanche can add to their young studs and improve going forward.

    In the east, the Boston Celtics are in a similar situation as Utah, with the trio of Darrell Griffith, high riser Larry Nance and Bill Laimbeer. Fortunate they have a solid veteran Cedric Maxwell to help show them along. Still, Boston would miss the playoffs this year and that’s unacceptable in Boston, but they know they’re young and rebuilding in BeanTown and the fans are patient. But for how long?

    It was a disappointing season for the Philadelphia 76ers as the reigning MVP, Julius Erving, was sidelined for majority of the year with a hand injury. As a result Ray Williams, Daryl Dawkins and Bobby Jones were given more focus and they actually entertaining to see with their highlight plays, but it didn’t get Philly to the playoffs. With an off-season to continue to recuperate, Julius Erving should come back strong as he unites with his Philly team that made the finals the year before. More salt in the wound however is their 1982 first round pick being owed to New York, just like their 1981 first was conveyed to the Knicks. The worse news about this pick though is that it will be a high lottery pick.


    Playoff Standings

    Eastern Conference
    1 z-Indiana Pacers 60 22
    2 x-Chicago Bulls 57 25
    3 x-Milwaukee Bucks 55 27
    4 y-New York Knicks 50 32
    5 x-Detroit Pistons 48 34
    6 x-Atlanta Hawks 45 37

    Western Conference
    1 c-Seattle SuperSonics 57 25
    2 y-Denver Nuggets 56 26
    3 x-San Antonio Spurs 52 30
    4 x-Los Angeles Lakers 48 34
    5 x-Houston Rockets 46 36
    6 x-Phoenix Suns 46 36

    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

    First Round - Western Conference

    4 Los Angeles Lakers 1
    5 Houston Rockets 2

    3 San Antonio Spurs 2
    6 Phoenix Suns 1

    Conference Semifinals - Western Conference

    1 Seattle SuperSonics 4
    5 Houston Rockets 2

    2 Denver Nuggets 4
    3 San Antonio Spurs 3

    Conference Finals - Western Conference

    1 Seattle SuperSonics 3
    2 Denver Nuggets 4

    First Round - Eastern Conference

    3 Milwaukee Bucks 2
    5 Detroit Pistons 1

    2 Chicago Bulls 2
    6 Atlanta Hawks 1

    Conference Semifinals - Eastern Conference

    1 Indiana Pacers 4
    3 Milwaukee Bucks 3

    2 Chicago Bulls 4
    4 New York Knicks 2

    Conference Finals - Eastern Conference

    1 Indiana Pacers 4
    2 Chicago Bulls 3

    Game 7
    1982 NBA Finals#1 Indiana Pacers (1) vs. #1 Denver Nuggets (2)

    Box Score
    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 30 24 23 28 105
    DEN 26 32 21 20 99

    Top Performers

    Indiana Pacers Denver Nuggets
    Pts: Larry Bird 41 Pts: Alex English 34
    Rebs: Dan Roundfield 12 Rebs: Bill Walton 15
    Asts: Don Buse 8 Asts: Kenny Higgs 6
    (Denver would throw the kitchen sink at Bird, trying to contain Larry Legend, but he’d he see unleash a three point barrage in the first half, giving him 18 points in just threes. Alex English and David Thompson would counter punch offensively with Thompson getting Denver going in the first, while English took over in the second and third quarters. Walton was all over the boards tonight and contested Bird inside as well as you could. Dan Issel would hit some big buckets down the stretch for Denver as Roundfield played lax defense as he was in foul trouble. Bird and Buse would turn it up defensively, late in the fourth to slow Denver’s late run and close it out in Denver. Indiana Pacers, Larry Bird, was Finals MVP.)

    Other NBA Awards: MVP - Chicago Bulls - Magic Johnson; Rookie of the Year - Cleveland Cavaliers - Isiah Thomas; Coach of the Year - Phoenix Suns - John MacLeod;

    Regular Season Statistical Leaders: San Antonio Spurs - George Gervin - 32.3ppg; Houston Rockets - Moses Malone - 14.7rpg; Chicago Bulls - Magic Johnson - 9.7apg; Portland Trail Blazers - Michael Ray Richardson - 2.68spg; San Antonio Spurs - George Johnson - 3.12bpg; Chicago Bulls - Artis Gilmore - .652fg%; Phoenix Suns - Kyle Macy - .899ft%;













    Last edited by Vince Russo; 03-29-2019 at 09:19 PM.

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