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This Day in Sonics History: The Sonics bring home the Larry O'Brien Trophy

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Today marks the 36th Anniversary of when the Sonics knocked off the Washington Bullets in five games to capture their only Title.

Mike Baker

In 1978, the Sonics dropped a heartbreaking game 7 to the Washington Bullets, 105-99, and are the last team to lose a game 7 on their home floor in the Finals. One year later, however, the Sonics got their revenge.

After dropping game one 99-97, the Sonics rallied to win four straight, and took the series in five games, closing out the series on June 1, 1979. The Supes were led by Gus Williams, Dennis Johnson, and Jack Sikma. Williams averaged 28.6 points per game for the series on 49.1% from the field, and also added 3.6 assists per game. DJ averaged 22.6 points and 6 assists for the series, and shot 45% from the field. Jack Sikma averaged a double double for the series, as he added 16.2 points per game and also pulled down 14.8 rebounds.

I was born in 1994, nearly 15 years after this series took place. Combine that with the fact that this game took place during the Dark Ages of the NBA, when NBA Finals games were often shown on tape delay, I have hardly seen any of this series besides grainy YouTube highlights. So,  I have had to turn to any write up I can find that sheds light on the series. According to NBA.com's encyclopedia, Hall of Fame Head coach Lenny Wilkens was confident that his team would win the series, despite dropping game one.

"You know when I thought we had them?" Wilkens said. "When we came back from 18 points down in the third quarter in Game 1 in Washington. I never really worried after that."

The Sonics would take game 2 in Washington, 92-82, and with it home court advantage. The Sonics returned home and took games 3 and 4. The Sonics then returned to Washington and finished off the series, 97-93. Though Gus Williams led the team in scoring, it was Dennis Johnson who guided the Sonics to their first - and only - title, and the city of Seattle's first major championship.  Johnson was named Finals MVP. NBA.com's playoff encyclopedia describes Johnson's performance, and his comments after being named Finals MVP:

Dennis Johnson, who had played end-to-end the entire series -- scoring, blocking shots, clogging the passing lanes, getting back on defense -- was named the Finals MVP. He reacted by saying that he was just a "funny-looking black kid with red hair and freckles."

The Championship trophy is on display at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.