Future Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens took over the coaching reigns and guided the Trail Blazers to a 38 -44 finish, the best in the young franchise's first five seasons and just three victories shy of earning the club's first playoff appearance.
The Blazers, 13 games under .500 on February 23 (24-37), came on strong to win 14 of their last 21 and just miss a post-season berth. They launched the late run by winning six straight, at the time the longest victory streak in club history. Portland opened the year with a thrilling 131-129 four-overtime victory over Cleveland at home and closed
it out with three straight wins, including 124-106 and 126-97 romps over the Lakers.
Wilkens, who was player-coach and appeared in 65 games, saw his final NBA action wearing a Blazers uniform on April 6, 1975, when he scored 15 points and dishing out six assists in a 29-point win over the Lakers. In all, he averaged 16.5 ppg in 1,077 games over 15 seasons for four different teams.
The 1974-75 season also marked the arrival on the Portland scene of another future Hall of Famer, Bill Walton. The three-time College Player of the Year from UCLA was taken as the No. 1 choice in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Blazers. However, injuries kept the big redhead on the bench for all but 35 games of his rookie season. In those outings, he averaged 12.8 ppg and 12.6 rpg.
Sidney Wicks was Portland's leader with 21.7 ppg and 10.7 rpg while starting all 82 games. In a 117-116 OT win over the Lakers on February 26, he pulled down a club-record 27 rebounds.
Sidney Wicks was selected to play in his fourth straight NBA All-Star Game. He scored 16 points and had nine rebounds. Wicks finished 12th in NBA race with a 21.7 ppg.
Larry Steele was third in steals with a 2.41 per game average . . .The Blazers as a team led the league in field goal accuracy, shooting .480, and in assists, averaging 26.9 per...