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Like nearly every NBA expansion team before them, when the Portland Trail Blazers entered the National Basketball Association in 1970, the first few years were rough going for the team. After winning only 27 games during the 1973-1974 season, Portland was awarded the first pick in the NBA draft and used the pick to select center Bill Walton out of UCLA. Walton quickly became one of the premier players in the game and would help turn the franchise around. The final piece of the puzzle for the Trail Blazers came in 1976 when the team hired Jack Ramsey to take over as head coach.
Coming into the 1976 season fans thought that the Trail Blazers were going to be a much improved team, but few could have imagined what followed. The season was one of great success for the team as they finished with a winning record for the first time in club history at 49-33. They entered the NBA playoffs determined to show the league how good they really were and eliminated the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets in the first and second rounds, respectively. The Western Conference Finals pitted them against the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers. Though the team entered the series as underdogs, they were able to leave as the dominant winner, sweeping the Lakers in four games and advancing to the NBA Finals.
In the 1977 NBA Finals, the Blazers were pitted against Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers. During the first two games in Philadelphia, the Trail Blazers seemed outmatched, losing both games in convincing fashion. Heading back to Portland, the team regrouped and blew out the 76ers in consecutive games by a combined 54 points. With the series tied, Game 5 became crucial and the Trail Blazers were able to steal the game on the road and head back to Portland one game away from a title. Game 6 was the most highly contested of all the NBA Finals games, and like any good championship game does, it came down to the last shot. With Portland up by two with just five seconds to go, Philadelphia missed a last-second shot to tie the game. The Portland Trail Blazers were NBA champions. Bill Walton was named the series MVP and it remains the only title in Trail Blazers history.