The 1977 World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1976-77 season. The Portland Trail Blazers of the Western Conference played against the Philadelphia 76ers of the Eastern Conference, with the 76ers holding home-court advantage. Their 4 regular season meetings had been split evenly, 2-2, with neither side winning away from home. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, so the first team to win four games would win the series and become the league champions.
The 1976-77 season started with the ABA�merger. Portland had benefited from the resulting ABA dispersal draft as they acquired Spirits of St. Louis power forward Maurice Lucas to partner with Bill Walton, and Philadelphia had signed ABA All-Star and 3-time ABA MVP Julius “Dr. J” Erving, who had taken the New York Nets to the ABA title the previous year. In the 1977 Finals, five of the ten starting players were former ABA players. (Those five starters from the ABA were Julius Erving, Caldwell Jones, George McGinnis, Dave Twardzik and Maurice Lucas.)
While it was no surprise that Philadelphia had made it to the championship series, having posted the best record in the east (50-32, #1), Portland’s appearance in the finals was a mild surprise. Portland, a team that was founded only seven years earlier, was not only making its playoff debut with its first winning season (49-33, #3), but it was also making its finals debut as well after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in four close games in the Western Conference Finals.
The series quickly went 2-0 in favor of Philadelphia, but over the next four games, Portland mounted a comeback that has rarely been seen in professional sports.