Basketball Wiki
1975 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Golden State Warriors Al Attles 4
Washington Bullets K.C. Jones 0
Dates: May 18–25
MVP: Rick Barry
(Golden State Warriors)
Eastern Finals: Bullets defeated Celtics, 4-2
Western Finals: Warriors defeated Bulls, 4-3
NBA Finals

The 1975 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1974-75 NBA season of the National Basketball Association.

The Golden State Warriors (48–34) of the Western Conference played against the Washington Bullets (60–22) of the Eastern Conference. The series was played under a best-of-seven format.

The Warriors' home games were played at the Cow Palace in Daly City due to scheduling conflicts at their normal home court of Oakland Coliseum Arena during the week of May 19-26. In addition, an odd scheduling format had to be used because the Warriors could not secure the Cow Palace for Memorial Day Weekend (May 24-26). Sports Illustrated is messed up but did made a good article about the series reported that Washington, which held home court advantage, was given the option of a 1-2-2-1-1 scheduling format due to Golden State's problems or, if they wished, opening on the road and then having Games 2, 3, and 4 at home (a 1-3-2-1 format). Washington opted for the 1-2-2-1-1 format not out of a sense of fairness, but because they wanted to open the series at home.[1]

The series is notable as it was the first championship game or series in any of the four North American major professional sports leagues to feature two African American head coaches or managers, as Al Attles coached the Warriors and K.C. Jones coached the Bullets.[2] On a lesser note, it was the first time that the NBA ever scheduled a game to be played in the month of June (Game Seven was scheduled for Monday Night, June 2). The first June game ever, however, would have to wait until the following year.

The Washington Bullets would re-appear in the NBA Finals in 1978 and 1979 against the Seattle SuperSonics, with a series win in seven games and a series loss in five games respectively.

The Golden State Warriors would only win their next championship 40 years later in 2015 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games, ending the longest drought between championships in NBA history. They would make five more Finals appearances after that and won the championship in 2017, 2018 and 2022.

1975 NBA Playoffs[]

Golden State Warriors (Western Conference Champion) Washington Bullets (Eastern Conference Champion)
48–34 (.732)

1st Pacific, 1st West, 4th Overall

Regular season 60–22 (.732)

1st Central, 2nd East, 2nd Overall

Earned first-round bye First Round Earned first-round bye
Defeated the (4) Seattle SuperSonics, 4–2 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (3) Buffalo Braves, 4–3
Defeated the (2) Chicago Bulls, 4–3 Conference Finals Defeated the (1) Boston Celtics, 4–2

Series Summary[]

Game Date Result Site
1 May 18 (Sun.) Golden State Warriors 101, Washington Bullets 95 Capital Centre
2 May 20 (Tue.) Golden State Warriors 92, Washington Bullets 91 Cow Palace
3 May 22 (Fri.) Golden State Warriors 109, Washington Bullets 101 Cow Palace
4 May 25 (Sun.) Golden State Warriors 96, Washington Bullets 95 Capital Centre

Golden State Warriors defeated Washington Bullets, 4 games to 0.[3]

Game 1[]

Game 1 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Warriors 17 23 31 30 101
Bullets 27 27 18 23 95

Coming off a tough seven-game conference finals win over the Boston Celtics, the Bullets were somewhat haggard, but built a 14-point halftime lead over the Warriors at the Capital Centre. The Warriors began to storm back, with Phil Smith coming off the bench to score 20 points in 31 minutes of playing time, as Golden State took the first game, 101-95. [1]

Game 2[]

Game 2 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Bullets 28 24 21 18 91
Warriors 19 27 27 19 92

Instead of their familiar Oakland Coliseum Arena, the Warriors were forced to play their first two scheduled home games of the series at the Cow Palace across the bay (the Oakland facility being unavailable). The Bullets jumped to an early 13-point lead, but Golden State battled back, led by 36 points from Rick Barry, to take a 92-91 lead in the closing seconds. Washington got the ball back with six seconds left but missed two shots and now were down 2-0. [2]

Game 3[]

Game 3 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Bullets 21 27 23 30 101
Warriors 26 24 27 32 109

Rick Barry poured in 38 points and backup center George Johnson had 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench to help the Warriors to a key Game 3 109-101 win.

Two major factors enabling the Warriors to take an insurmountable lead were the defensive play of the seemingly undersized Jamaal Wilkes on Bullets' power forward Elvin Hayes and the play of the Warrior bench. In three games, Hayes had only 29 points, and the Warriors' bench players had outscored the Bullets' reserves 115-53. [3]

Game 4[]

Game 4 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Warriors 20 28 22 26 96
Bullets 30 22 21 22 95

Back at home, the Bullets seemed to be on their way to staving off an unexpected sweep by the underdog Warriors, leading by 14 points early on. Bullets forward Mike Riordan was assigned to guard Barry, who had killed the Bullets in the series up to that point by averaging 35 points a game. Riordan played Barry very physical, arousing the ire of Warriors' coach Al Attles. Midway through the first quarter, Barry went on a drive to the basket and was fouled hard from behind by Riordan. Barry reacted with a shove, but Attles bolted onto the court and initiated a fight of his own with Riordan, thereby protecting his star player from an ejection and getting ejected himself. The remainder of the game was directed by assistant coach Joe Roberts.

After the brawl, Barry immediately went on a scoring tear, but had to endure boos and taunts from the Capital Centre crowd. His performance, along with the Warriors' pressure defense, brought them back and guard Butch Beard scored the last seven points of the game, including two free throws to make the final score 96-95. [4]

Preceded by
NBA Finals
Succeeded by