1975–76 Phoenix Suns season

Review of the season

NBA professional basketball team season

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1975–76 Phoenix Suns season
Conference champions
Head coach John MacLeod
General manager Jerry Colangelo
Owners Karl Eller, Don Pitt, Don Diamond, Bhavik Darji, Marvin Meyer, Richard L. Bloch
Arena Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 42–40 (.512)
Place Division: 3rd (Pacific)
Conference: 4th (Western)
Playoff finish NBA Finals
(lost to Celtics 2–4)

Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Local media
Television KTAR-TV
Radio KTAR
< 1974–75 1976–77 >

The 1975–76 Phoenix Suns season was the eighth season for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association. The season included an improbable run to the NBA Finals by a team that had never won a playoff series and made the playoffs only one other season in the franchise’s existence.

With a regular season record of 42–40, the Suns had finished third in the Pacific division standings and improved upon last season’s win total by 10 games. The ensuing playoff run took plenty by surprise, including a seven-game series win against the Western Conference‘s top seed and defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, a team that had finished 17 games ahead of the Suns in the divisional standings.

The franchise’s first Finals appearance pitted them against a 12-time champion in the Boston Celtics, whose roster featured three players from that season’s All-Star Game. The 1976 NBA Finals would feature a memorable Game 5 triple-overtime thriller filled with controversies, in which the Suns narrowly lost. Returning home for Game 6, the demoralized Suns would lose Game 6 and the series but not before endearing a generation of fans to the Suns franchise and showcasing basketball from the desert southwest.

The team’s “Cinderella” season earned them the nickname Sunderella Suns.[1] John MacLeod was head coach and the Suns played their home games at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Offseason[edit]

NBA draft[edit]

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Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 4 Alvan Adams Center  United States Oklahoma
1 16 Ricky Sobers Guard  United States UNLV
2 35 Allen Murphy Guard  United States Louisville
2 36 Jimmy Dan Conner Guard  United States Kentucky
3 54 Bayard Forrest Center  United States Grand Canyon
4 58 Sam McCants Guard  United States Oral Roberts
5 76 Joe Pace Center  United States Coppin State
6 94 Clark “Biff” Burrell Guard  United States USC
7 112 Dave Edmunds Guard  United States West Georgia
8 130 Jack Schrader Forward  United States Arizona State
9 147 Owen Brown Forward  United States Maryland
10 163 Mike Moon Guard  United States Arizona State

Finishing the previous season with a 32–50 record, the Suns earned the fourth pick in the draft, which they used to select center Alvan Adams from Oklahoma. Adams averaged 23.4 points and 12.8 rebounds per game in three seasons with the Sooners.[2] With averages of 19 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks a game, Adams would become an All-Star in his first NBA season, and go on to be named Rookie of the Year. Adams would spend his entire 13-year career with the Suns, and would have his #33 jersey retired by the franchise in 1988.[3]

On draft day, the Suns traded one of their 1976 first-round picks (acquired from a trade with the New Orleans Jazz in 1974) to the Buffalo Braves for the 16th pick in the 1975 draft. The Suns used their additional pick to select guard Ricky Sobers from UNLV. In 1976, the Braves would use the sixth pick to select future Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley. Sobers would play two seasons for the Suns, contributing significantly to their Finals run, before being traded to the Indiana Pacers for Don Buse.[4]

In the third round, the Suns selected center Bayard Forrest from Grand Canyon University. Forrest would play another season with the Antelopes, and be drafted again by the Seattle SuperSonics in 1976. The Sonics would trade the rights to Forrest back to the Suns in 1977 for a 1979 second-round pick. Forrest played two seasons for the Suns as a backup center, before being sidelined by thyroid cancer, forcing him to retire in 1980.[5]

Free agency[edit]

On June 10, the Suns signed free agent point guard Dennis “Mo” Layton. Layton began his career with the Suns in 1971, playing two seasons before being waived. He would then play for the Portland Trail Blazers and the Memphis Tams of the ABA in 1973–74, and sit for the 1974–75 season as a free agent. Layton was waived by the Suns during the preseason and would again sit through 1975–76 season as a free agent.[6]

On October 24, the Suns claimed veteran swingman John Wetzel off of waivers from the Atlanta Hawks.[7] Wetzel would play sparingly throughout the season, averaging 6.7 minutes in 37 regular season games, and 2.5 minutes in two playoff games. Wetzel had played for the Suns from 1970 to 1972, and would spend his final season with the Suns before retiring in August 1976.[8] Wetzel would later become an assistant coach with the Suns from 1979 to 1987, before becoming the team’s head coach for the 1987–88 season.[9]

Trades[edit]

On May 23, the Suns traded three-time All-Star guard Charlie Scott to the Boston Celtics for guard Paul Westphal, a 1975 second-round draft pick, and a 1976 second-round draft pick. Suns general manager Jerry Colangelo released this statement after the trade:

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It takes a team concept of play to win in this league. Although Charlie Scott is a talent, our decision was made on the basis that Scott’s talents were of an individual nature and did not fit into a team style of play. In Paul Westphal, we are acquiring a player from a winning situation. He is a stable, quality individual who will add leadership and experience to our club. We are confident that this decision will prove to be a major step in developing a winner and that the Phoenix Suns are more important than any one individual.

— Jerry Colangelo, [10]

Westphal had spent his first three years playing a limited role for Boston, but would blossom as a starter for the Suns. From 1976–77 to 1979–80, Westphal would make four consecutive All-Star appearances, voted as a starter three times, and be named to four All-NBA Teams, including three First Team selections.[11] Scott’s minutes and points would decrease with the Celtics, and he would not again be selected as an All-Star.[12] Later, Westphal would join the Suns for a second stint during the 1983-84 NBA season, his last in the NBA as a player. Westphal would then pursue a coaching career eventually joining the Suns as an assistant coach in 1988 under Cotton Fitzsimmons and would succeed him as head coach in 1992 and coach the Suns to their second Finals appearance.

On May 28, the Suns traded center Earl Williams to the Detroit Pistons for forward Willie Norwood. Unable to play in training camp due to knee injuries, the Suns exercised a contract clause that allowed them to send Norwood back to the Pistons.[13] On September 30, the Pistons would send the Suns a 1976 second-round draft pick as compensation for Williams.[14]

On June 9, the Suns traded a 1976 second-round draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for guard Phil Lumpkin. Playing the 1975–76 season as a backup point guard, Lumpkin would average 2.1 points and 1.4 assists in 34 regular season games, and 1.8 points and 1.2 assists in 17 playoff games. Lumpkin was waived prior to the 1976–77 season and would not play in the NBA again.[15]

On September 17, the Suns traded guard Greg Jackson to the Washington Bullets for future draft considerations. Jackson was waived by the Bullets a month later and did not play in the NBA again.[16]

Roster[edit]

1975–76 Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB From
F/C 33 Adams, Alvan 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1954-07-19 Oklahoma
C 21 Awtrey, Dennis 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1948-02-22 Santa Clara
G/F 14 Erickson, Keith 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1944-04-19 UCLA
SG 32 Hawthorne, Nate 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1950-01-15 Southern Illinois
F 24 Heard, Garfield 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 219 lb (99 kg) 1948-05-03 Oklahoma
PG 10 Lumpkin, Phil 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 165 lb (75 kg) 1951-12-20 Miami (OH)
F/C 18 Perry, Curtis 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1948-09-13 Missouri State
G/F 12 Riley, Pat 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1945-03-20 Kentucky
G 40 Sobers, Ricky 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 198 lb (90 kg) 1953-01-15 UNLV
SG 5 Van Arsdale, Dick 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1943-02-22 Indiana
G 44 Westphal, Paul 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1950-11-30 USC
G/F 25 Wetzel, John 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1944-10-20 Virginia Tech
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Preseason[edit]

The Suns held their training camp from September 25 to October 5 at the Yavapai College Gymnasium in Prescott, Arizona. The initial training camp roster consisted of returning Suns Dennis Awtrey, Mike Bantom, Keith Erickson, Nate Hawthorne, Gary Melchionni, Curtis Perry, Fred Saunders and Dick Van Arsdale, as well as newly acquired players Mo Layton, Phil Lumpkin, Willie Norwood and Paul Westphal, rookies Alvan Adams, John Shumate and Ricky Sobers, and training camp invitee Duane Read.[17] Norwood, acquired in an earlier trade with the Detroit Pistons, was unable to play due to knee problems and sent back to the Pistons on October 30. Layton was waived on October 2 after appearing in one exhibition game.[18] Read, a free agent guard from Portland State, had impressed the Suns staff during Los Angeles summer league play and was invited to training camp. Read started in the Suns first preseason game but was cut from the roster before the season.[19] Melchionni was waived on October 24, one day prior to the start of the regular season. Melchionni had played with the Suns for the last two years as a backup point guard, averaging 7.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 137 games.[20]

The loss of Norwood and injuries to Awtrey, Lumpkin, Melchionni and Saunders cut the team’s initial preseason roster down to 11. Even with an abbreviated roster, the Suns finished the preseason with a 5–1 record, including three wins over the rival Los Angeles Lakers, a win over the Seattle SuperSonics, and a win over the Kansas City Kings. Their one loss came at the hands of the Kings, who beat the Suns 105–109 in overtime to close the preseason. Westphal led the Suns with 21.2 points a game in exhibition play, while Adams averaged 15.3 points and a team high 6.2 assists a game.[21] Not included in the Suns preseason record was an exhibition game against the United States Pan American team on October 6 at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The collegiate squad, who would go on to win the gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games, narrowly defeated the Suns 72–70 off a last second layup from future NBA champion Johnny Davis.[22]

Game log[edit]

1975 preseason game log
October: 5–1
Game Date Team Score High points Location
Attendance
Record Streak
1 October 1 Los Angeles W 114–112 Alvan Adams (24) Robertson Gymnasium 1–0 W 1
2 October 8 Los Angeles W 111–106 Alvan Adams (17) Bakersfield, CA 2–0 W 2
3 October 11 Los Angeles W 104–94 Paul Westphal (26) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum 3–0 W 3
4 October 12 Seattle W 104–92 Paul Westphal (32) Ellensburg, WA 4–0 W 4
5 October 18 Kansas City W 101–90 5–0 W 5
6 November 8 Kansas City L 105–109 (OT) Paul Westphal (17) Las Vegas, NV 5–1 L 1

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

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W L PCT GB Home Road Division
yGolden State Warriors 59 23 .720 36–5 23–18 17–9
xSeattle SuperSonics 43 39 .524 16 31–10 12–29 12–14
xPhoenix Suns 42 40 .512 17 27–14 15–26 15–11
Los Angeles Lakers 40 42 .488 19 31–11 9–31 10–16
Portland Trail Blazers 37 45 .451 22 25–15 12–30 11–15
#
Team W L PCT GB
1 zGolden State Warriors 59 23 .720
2 xSeattle SuperSonics 43 39 .524 16
3 xPhoenix Suns 42 40 .512 17
4 yMilwaukee Bucks 38 44 .463 21
5 xDetroit Pistons 36 46 .439 23
6 Los Angeles Lakers 40 42 .488 19
7 Portland Trail Blazers 37 45 .451 22
8 Kansas City Kings 31 51 .378 28
9 Chicago Bulls 24 58 .293 35

Record vs. opponents[edit]

1975–76 NBA records
Team ATL BOS BUF CHI CLE DET GSW HOU KCK LAL MIL NOJ NYK PHI PHO POR SEA WAS
Atlanta 2–3 2–3 2–2 2–5 1–3 2–2 2–5 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–4 3–2 2–3 0–4 2–2 1–3 1–5
Boston 3–2 4–3 2–2 3–2 4–0 2–2 4–1 2–2 4–0 2–2 4–1 5–2 4–3 4–0 2–2 2–2 3–2
Buffalo 3–2 3–4 3–1 3–2 1–3 1–3 3–2 4–0 2–2 3–1 4–1 4–3 3–4 3–1 2–2 2–2 2–3
Chicago 2–2 2–2 1–3 0–4 3–4 1–4 1–3 1–6 3–2 3–4 2–2 0–4 0–4 2–3 1–4 2–3 0–4
Cleveland 5–2 2–3 2–3 4–0 2–2 1–3 2–4 1–3 2–2 4–0 4–3 3–2 3–2 3–1 4–0 3–1 4–2
Detroit 3–1 0–4 3–1 4–3 2–2 0–5 2–2 5–2 1–4 3–4 1–3 3–1 1–3 1–4 2–3 3–2 2–2
Golden State 2–2 2–2 3–1 4–1 3–1 5–0 2–2 4–1 5–2 5–0 2–2 4–0 3–1 4–2 4–2 4–3 3–1
Houston 5–2 1–4 2–3 3–1 4–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 1–3 2–2 2–4 3–2 3–2 0–4 3–1 2–2 3–4
Kansas City 2–2 2–2 0–4 6–1 3–1 2–5 1–4 2–2 2–3 2–5 1–3 1–3 1–3 3–2 0–5 2–3 1–3
Los Angeles 3–1 0–4 2–2 2–3 2–2 4–1 2–5 3–1 3–2 2–3 3–1 3–1 2–2 2–4 3–4 3–3 1–3
Milwaukee 2–2 2–2 1–3 4–3 0–4 4–3 0–5 2–2 5–2 3–2 2–2 2–2 2–2 3–2 2–3 2–3 2–2
New Orleans 4–2 1–4 1–4 2–2 3–4 3–1 2–2 4–2 3–1 1–3 2–2 2–3 1–4 1–3 3–1 1–3 4–3
New York 2–3 2–5 3–4 4–0 2–3 1–3 0–4 2–3 3–1 1–3 2–2 3–2 5–2 2–2 3–1 0–4 3–2
Philadelphia 3–2 3–4 4–3 4–0 2–3 3–1 1–3 2–3 3–1 2–2 2–2 4–1 2–5 3–1 4–0 2–2 2–3
Phoenix 4–0 0–4 1–3 3–2 1–3 4–1 2–4 4–0 2–3 4–2 2–3 3–1 2–2 1–3 5–2 4–3 0–4
Portland 2–2 2–2 2–2 4–1 0–4 3–2 2–4 1–3 5–0 4–3 3–2 1–3 1–3 0–4 2–5 3–3 2–2
Seattle 3–1 2–2 2–2 3–2 1–3 2–3 3–4 2–2 3–2 3–3 3–2 3–1 4–0 2–2 3–4 3–3 1–3
Washington 5–1 2–3 3–2 4–0 2–4 2–2 1–3 4–3 3–1 3–1 2–2 3–4 2–3 3–2 4–0 2–2 3–1

Game log[edit]

1975–76 game log
Total: 42–40 (home: 27–14; road: 15–26)
October: 1–1 (home: 0–0; road: 1–1)
Game Date Team Score High points Location
Attendance
Record Streak
1 October 25 @ Portland W 89–88 Paul Westphal (17) Memorial Coliseum
11,274
1–0 W 1
2 October 26 @ Seattle L 99–113 Alvan Adams (29) Seattle Center Coliseum
13,288
1–1 L 1
November: 6–6 (home: 5–1; road: 1–5)
Game Date Team Score High points Location
Attendance
Record Streak
3 November 1 @ Kansas City L 100–106 Paul Westphal (22) Kemper Arena
6,632
1–2 L 2
4 November 4 @ Chicago W 96–80 Alvan Adams (18) Chicago Stadium
5,216
2–2 W 1
5 November 7 @ Philadelphia L 99–103 Curtis Perry (21) The Spectrum
9,549
2–3 L 1
6 November 8 @ Buffalo L 105–110 Paul Westphal (29) Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
10,253
2–4 L 2
7 November 11 New York W 112–81 Paul Westphal (21) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
8,576
3–4 W 1
8 November 13 Seattle W 106–103 Dick Van Arsdale (20) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,016
4–4 W 2
9 November 14 @ Los Angeles L 107–114 Alvan Adams (35) The Forum
11,450
4–5 L 1
10 November 19 Milwaukee L 94–96 Dick Van Arsdale (18) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,582
4–6 L 2
11 November 21 Houston W 107–92 Paul Westphal (22) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,230
5–6 W 1
12 November 26 Buffalo W 107–106 John Shumate (25) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
8,157
6–6 W 2
13 November 28 Portland W 110–101 Paul Westphal (21) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
7,769
7–6 W 3
14 November 29 @ Golden State L 100–112 Paul Westphal (27) Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena
12,787
7–7 L 1
December: 8–7 (home: 5–5; road: 3–2)
Game Date Team Score High points Location
Attendance
Record Streak
15 December 2 Golden State W 115–98 Alvan Adams (23) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,179
8–7 W 1
16 December 5 Washington L 87–92 Alvan Adams (17) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
8,065
8–8 L 1
17 December 7 Chicago W 114–97 Dick Van Arsdale (23) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
4,383
9–8 W 1
18 December 9 @ New Orleans W 104–89 Dick Van Arsdale (25) Louisiana Superdome
7,619
10–8 W 2
19 December 10 @ Houston W 105–91 Paul Westphal (32) The Summit
5,358
11–8 W 3
20 December 11 Philadelphia L 106–110 Alvan Adams (21) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,310
11–9 L 1
21 December 13 Los Angeles W 116–108 Paul Westphal (26) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
7,842
12–9 W 1
22 December 14 @ Portland W 105–96 Alvan Adams (20) Memorial Coliseum
10,544
13–9 W 2
23 December 17 Milwaukee W 116–111 Alvan Adams,
Keith Erickson (25)
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,689
14–9 W 3
24 December 19 Cleveland L 124–128 (2OT) Keith Erickson,
Dick Van Arsdale (26)
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,809
14–10 L 1
25 December 21 New Orleans L 107–120 John Shumate (18) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,853
14–11 L 2
26 December 25 Kansas City W 122–111 Curtis Perry (27) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
11,114
15–11 W 1
27 December 26 Boston L 106–112 Paul Westphal (22) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
11,842
15–12 L 1
28 December 28 @ Milwaukee L 85–88 Keith Erickson (22) MECCA Arena
10,938
15–13 L 2
29 December 30 @ New York L 88–114 John Shumate (21) Madison Square Garden
16,064
15–14 L 3
January: 4–13 (home: 2–6; road: 2–7)
Game Date Team Score High points Location
Attendance
Record Streak
30 January 1 @ Washington L 103–114 Paul Westphal (25) Capital Centre
4,919
15–15 L 4
31 January 3 @ Atlanta W 100–89 Dick Van Arsdale (18) Omni Coliseum
5,803
16–15 W 1
32 January 4 @ Kansas City L 86–98 Keith Erickson (17) Kemper Arena
5,040
16–16 L 1
33 January 7 Golden State L 110–114 Paul Westphal (23) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,696
16–17 L 2
34 January 8 @ Golden State L 113–129 Keith Erickson (25) Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena
9,807
16–18 L 3
35 January 9 Seattle L 110–112 (OT) Alvan Adams (29) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,774
16–19 L 4
36 January 11 New York L 98–99 Keith Erickson (21) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,429
16–20 L 5
37 January 15 Buffalo L 119–126 John Shumate (25) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,138
16–21 L 6
38 January 17 @ Cleveland L 85–105 Alvan Adams (18) Coliseum at Richfield
8,082
16–22 L 7
39 January 18 @ Detroit W 122–118 John Shumate (28) Cobo Arena
3,054
17–22 W 1
40 January 20 @ Buffalo L 103–112 Paul Westphal (27) Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
8,478
17–23 L 1
41 January 21 @ Boston L 100–114 Alvan Adams (23) Boston Garden
11,562
17–24 L 2
42 January 23 Houston W 124–115 Paul Westphal (28) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,341
18–24 W 1
43 January 24 Washington L 84–100 Alvan Adams,
Paul Westphal (16)
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
7,263
18–25 L 1
44 January 28 @ Los Angeles L 118–121 Paul Westphal (30) The Forum
11,735
18–26 L 2
45 January 29 Milwaukee L 96–105 Paul Westphal (29) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
7,125
18–27 L 3
46 January 31 Philadelphia W 119–105 Alvan Adams (30) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
8,134
19–27 W 1
February: 8–5 (home: 4–2; road: 4–3)
Game Date Team Score High points Location
Attendance
Record Streak
All-Star Break
47 February 6 Golden State W 118–111 Alvan Adams (33) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
7,187
20–27 W 1
48 February 8 @ Seattle W 107–101 (OT) Nate Hawthorne (25) Seattle Center Coliseum
13,039
21–27 W 2
49 February 11 Detroit W 123–94 Alvan Adams (22) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,718
22–27 W 3
50 February 13 Boston L 108–109 Paul Westphal (31) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
8,130
22–28 L 1
51 February 14 New Orleans W 112–93 Alvan Adams (25) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,539
23–28 W 1
52 February 17 @ Chicago L 111–114 (OT) Alvan Adams (32) Chicago Stadium
4,313
23–29 L 1
53 February 18 @ Detroit L 94–105 Paul Westphal (22) Cobo Arena
3,045
23–30 L 2
54 February 20 @ New Orleans W 103–102 Alvan Adams (28) Louisiana Superdome
10,519
24–30 W 1
55 February 21 @ Houston W 110–108 (OT) Alvan Adams,
Paul Westphal (24)
The Summit
6,043
25–30 W 2
56 February 24 Kansas City L 117–120 (OT) Alvan Adams (30) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,416
25–31 L 1
57 February 26 Atlanta W 115–97 Ricky Sobers,
Paul Westphal (27)
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,820
26–31 W 1
58 February 28 @ Washington L 89–92 Paul Westphal (23) Capital Centre
9,245
26–32 L 1
59 February 29 @ Detroit W 109–98 Paul Westphal (32) Cobo Arena
6,143
27–32 W 1
March: 12–5 (home: 8–0; road: 4–5)
Game Date Team Score High points Location
Attendance
Record Streak
60 March 3 Cleveland W 108–92 Paul Westphal (31) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
4,523
28–32 W 2
61 March 5 Chicago W 99–97 Alvan Adams,
Paul Westphal (22)
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,346
29–32 W 3
62 March 6 @ Portland L 99–118 Nate Hawthorne (19) Memorial Coliseum
9,142
29–33 L 1
63 March 7 Portland W 106–84 Paul Westphal (30) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,039
30–33 W 1
64 March 10 @ Philadelphia L 108–125 Alvan Adams (24) The Spectrum
10,061
30–34 L 1
65 March 11 @ Atlanta W 104–99 Paul Westphal (32) Omni Coliseum
4,137
31–34 W 1
66 March 13 @ Cleveland L 77–99 Curtis Perry (14) Coliseum at Richfield
17,592
31–35 L 1
67 March 14 @ Milwaukee W 108–106 Alvan Adams (25) MECCA Arena
10,938
32–35 W 1
68 March 16 @ Chicago L 87–120 Alvan Adams (15) Chicago Stadium
3,392
32–36 L 1
69 March 18 Detroit W 106–100 Gar Heard (27) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
5,687
33–36 W 1
70 March 20 Los Angeles W 106–93 Alvan Adams (29) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
9,123
34–36 W 2
71 March 23 Seattle W 104–97 Paul Westphal (39) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
7,589
35–36 W 3
72 March 25 Atlanta W 107–98 Paul Westphal (27) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
6,257
36–36 W 4
73 March 27 Kansas City W 117–110 Paul Westphal (27) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
9,386
37–36 W 5
74 March 28 @ Los Angeles W 100–97 Paul Westphal (27) The Forum
11,732
38–36 W 6
75 March 30 @ New York W 113–97 Paul Westphal (29) Madison Square Garden
13,494
39–36 W 7
76 March 31 @ Boston L 102–122 Nate Hawthorne (22) Boston Garden
8,200
39–37 L 1
April: 3–3 (home: 3–0; road: 0–3)
Game Date Team Score High points Location
Attendance
Record Streak
77 April 2 Portland W 106–103 Alvan Adams (20) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
10,424
40–37 W 1
78 April 3 @ Portland L 97–112 Paul Westphal (28) Memorial Coliseum
9,010
40–38 L 1
79 April 4 @ Seattle L 89–117 Alvan Adams (21) Seattle Center Coliseum
14,096
40–39 L 2
80 April 6 @ Golden State L 106–111 (OT) Alvan Adams (30) Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena
11,809
40–40 L 3
81 April 8 Los Angeles W 113–98 Ricky Sobers (23) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
13,036
41–40 W 1
82 April 10 Seattle W 121–95 Alvan Adams (19) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
9,577
42–40 W 2
1975–76 schedule

Playoffs[edit]

Game log[edit]

1976 playoff game log
Conference semifinals: 4–2 (home: 3–0; road: 1–2)
Game Date Team Score High points High rebounds High assists Location
Attendance
Series
1 April 13 @ Seattle L 99–102 Paul Westphal (24) Gar Heard (10) Paul Westphal (10) Seattle Center Coliseum
12,408
0–1
2 April 15 @ Seattle W 116–111 Alvan Adams (23) Curtis Perry (12) Alvan Adams (7) Seattle Center Coliseum
14,096
1–1
3 April 18 Seattle W 103–91 Heard, Westphal (16) Gar Heard (14) Westphal, Adams (6) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
13,036
2–1
4 April 20 Seattle W 130–114 Paul Westphal (39) Gar Heard (11) Ricky Sobers (8) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
13,036
3–1
5 April 25 @ Seattle L 108–114 Paul Westphal (27) Dennis Awtrey (12) three players tied (4) Seattle Center Coliseum
14,096
3–2
6 April 27 Seattle W 123–112 Keith Erickson (20) Heard, Adams (9) Alvan Adams (10) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
13,192
4–2
Conference finals: 4–3 (home: 2–1; road: 2–2)
NBA Finals: 2–4 (home: 2–1; road: 0–3)
Game Date Team Score High points High rebounds High assists Location
Attendance
Series
1 May 23 @ Boston L 87–98 Alvan Adams (26) Curtis Perry (10) Ricky Sobers (7) Boston Garden
15,320
0–1
2 May 27 @ Boston L 90–105 Paul Westphal (28) Alvan Adams (15) Westphal, Adams (5) Boston Garden
15,320
0–2
3 May 30 Boston W 105–98 Alvan Adams (33) Alvan Adams (14) Paul Westphal (6) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
12,284
1–2
4 June 2 Boston W 109–107 Paul Westphal (28) Gar Heard (15) Paul Westphal (9) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
13,306
2–2
5 June 4 @ Boston L 126–128 (3OT) Westphal, Sobers (25) Curtis Perry (15) Perry, Sobers (6) Boston Garden
15,320
2–3
6 June 6 Boston L 80–87 Alvan Adams (20) Gar Heard (10) Alvan Adams (6) Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
13,306
2–4
1976 schedule

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Star[edit]

  • Alvan Adams was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his first and only All-Star selection.

Season[edit]

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game
 PPG  Points per game

Season[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Alvan Adams 80 78 33.2 .469 .735 9.1 5.6 1.5 1.5 19.0
Dennis Awtrey 74 4 18.6 .467 .688 4.0 2.1 .3 .3 4.9
Mike Bantom* 7 2 9.7 .308 1.000^ 3.3 0.4 .3 .3 3.0
Keith Erickson 74 39 25.0 .470 .854^ 4.5 2.5 1.1 .1 10.1
Nate Hawthorne 79 1 14.5 .430 .676 2.6 0.6 .4 .2 6.1
Garfield Heard* 36 36 33.9 .452 .673 9.9+ 1.8 1.4 1.1 12.4
Phil Lumpkin 34 0 10.9 .338 .867^ 0.7 1.4 .4 .0 2.1
Curtis Perry 71 70 33.1 .497 .732 9.6+ 2.6 1.2 .9 13.3
Pat Riley* 60 5 13.2 .389 .730 0.8 1.0 .4 .1 4.6
Fred Saunders 17 0 8.6 .438 .545 2.2 0.8 .3 .1 3.6
John Shumate* 43 11 21.6 .550 .628 5.6 1.4 1.0 .4 11.3
Ricky Sobers 78 30 24.3 .449 .823 3.3 2.8 1.4 .1 9.2
Dick Van Arsdale 58 54 32.2 .484 .830 2.4 2.4 .9 .2 12.9
Paul Westphal 82 80 36.1 .494 .830 3.2 5.4 2.6 .5 20.5
John Wetzel 37 0 6.7 .478 .833 1.0 0.5 .2 .1 1.7

* – Stats with the Suns.
† – Minimum 300 field goals made.
^ – Minimum 125 free throws made.
+ – Minimum 70 games played or 800 rebounds.

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Alvan Adams 19 19 35.2 .452 .817 10.1 5.2 1.3 1.1 17.9
Dennis Awtrey 19 0 15.1 .467 .545 3.3 1.3 .3 .5 3.2
Keith Erickson 19 0 22.4 .462 .809 3.5 1.8 .6 .2 11.3
Nate Hawthorne 15 0 5.4 .346 .727 1.1 0.3 .3 .1 1.7
Garfield Heard 19 19 37.9 .441 .679 10.4 1.7 2.1 1.9 13.9
Phil Lumpkin 17 0 8.0 .333 .786 0.8 1.2 .1 .0 1.8
Curtis Perry 19 19 32.4 .454 .647 7.7 1.9 .6 .9 12.7
Pat Riley 5 0 5.4 .400 1.000^ 0.0 1.0 .0 .0 2.6
Ricky Sobers 19 19 29.6 .468 .833 3.3 4.2 .9 .3 13.0
Dick Van Arsdale 19 0 24.8 .488 .870^ 1.2 2.0 .7 .1 8.5
Paul Westphal 19 19 36.1 .511 .763 2.5 5.1 1.8 .5 21.1
John Wetzel 2 0 2.5 . 1.000^ 1.0 .0 .0 .0 1.0

^ – Minimum 10 free throws made.

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

May 23, 1975 To Boston Celtics


United States Charlie Scott

To Phoenix Suns


United States Paul Westphal

1975 second-round draft pick (United States Jimmy Dan Conner)
1976 second-round draft pick (United States Butch Feher)
May 29, 1975 To Buffalo Braves


1976 first-round draft pick (United States Adrian Dantley)

To Phoenix Suns


1975 first-round draft pick (United States Ricky Sobers)

June 9, 1975 To Portland Trail Blazers


1976 second-round draft pick (United States Jacky Dorsey)

To Phoenix Suns


United States Phil Lumpkin

September 17, 1975 To Washington Bullets


United States Greg Jackson

To Phoenix Suns


Future draft pick

September 30, 1975 To Detroit Pistons


United States Earl Williams

To Phoenix Suns


1976 second-round draft pick (United States Earl Tatum)

November 3, 1975 To Los Angeles Lakers


United States John Roche

1976 second-round draft pick (United States Earl Tatum)
To Phoenix Suns


United States Pat Riley

November 22, 1975 To Seattle SuperSonics


United States Mike Bantom

To Phoenix Suns


Cash considerations

February 1, 1976 To Buffalo Braves


United States John Shumate

To Phoenix Suns


United States Garfield Heard

1976 second-round draft pick (United States Al Fleming)

Free agents[edit]

Additions[edit]

Date Player Contract Former Team
June 10, 1975 Mo Layton Undisclosed Memphis Tams (ABA)
October 24, 1975 John Wetzel Undisclosed Atlanta Hawks

Subtractions[edit]

Date Player Reason Left New Team
July 16, 1975 Jim Owens Waived n/a
October 2, 1975 Mo Layton Waived New York Knicks
October 24, 1975 Gary Melchionni Waived Hazleton Bullets (EBA)
February 11, 1976 Fred Saunders Waived Boston Celtics

References[edit]

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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free.id-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited.id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration.id-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription.id-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}“SUNS: 1975–76”. NBA.com/Suns. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  2. ^ “Alvan Adams NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  3. ^ “Phoenix honors Alvan Adams; retires his jersey”. The Prescott Courier.
  4. ^ “Ricky Sobers NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  5. ^ “Cancer Sidelines Forrest”. Eugene Register-Guard.
  6. ^ “Mo Layton NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  7. ^ “Sportswhirl”. Toledo Blade.
  8. ^ “John Wetzel NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  9. ^ “Suns move Wetzel up to top spot”. The Times-News.
  10. ^ “Celtics Acquire Scott In Trade For Westphal”. Eugene Register-Guard.
  11. ^ “Paul Westphal NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  12. ^ “Charlie Scott NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  13. ^ “Hurt riddled Suns face Lakers tonight”. Prescott Courier.
  14. ^ “Earl Williams NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  15. ^ “Phil Lumpkin NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  16. ^ “Basketball Transactions Search Results”. prosportstransactions.com.
  17. ^ “Suns arrive for fall camp tomorrow”. Prescott Courier.
  18. ^ “Suns cut Layton”. Prescott Courier.
  19. ^ “Suns, Lakers Play Tonight”. Kingman Daily Miner.
  20. ^ “Gary Melchionni NBA & ABA Statistics”. basketball-reference.com.
  21. ^ “Confident Suns Open Campaign”. basketball-reference.com.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ “U.S. Winner”. Spokane Daily Chronicle.



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