As a Net, Dr. J dunked Denver in the ABA finals. Then, before making a tricky move to Philly, he was a major reason the ABA finally netted a merger with the NBA.
Phoenix seemed to have fortune on its side. After finishing only third in its division, it upset the defending NBA champion Warriors in the Western conference finals. But even the Cinderella Suns could not make Boston's run for its 13th title an unlucky one, the Celtics winning in six games, in the ABA, the Nets used a full-court press to up-end the Nuggets for their second championship—and the league's last. Shortly after the playoffs, the NBA and a four-team remnant of the ABA agreed to merge.
Celtic coach Tom Heinsohn steamed in arenas and ads.
Dave Cowens left the Suns' Alvan Adams gaping in the NBA finals, then he left the Celtics gasping by taking a leave of absence.
With David Thompson doing his stuff, Denver got off to a mile-high start that left its new rivals in the NBA feeling low down.
Heady Slick Watts led the NBA in both steals and assists.
Super fans helped the Suns rise very unexpectedly in the West.
Two coups for Bob McAdoo: leading the NBA scorers, then shuffling from Buffalo.
Shunning litigation for negotiation, NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien molded the merger ending his league's war with the ABA.