1963/64: After two nicknames while playing two seasons in Chicago, the NBA’s newest franchise was on the move, heading to Baltimore, where they paid tribute to the city’s first NBA team named the Bullets, who got their name because they played in an armory. The original Bullets played in the ABL, and NBA then called the BAA from 1944 until folding during the 1953/54 season. Along the way, the Bullets took home the second Championship in league history in 1948. The new Bullets were quite different; they were an up and coming expansion team with the two previous Rookie of the Year winners. After two last-place finishes in Chicago, the Bullets finally escape last place but finish far out of the playoffs with a 31-49 record, which lands them in fourth place in the Western Division.
1964/65: Before their second season in Baltimore, the Bullets pulled off a blockbuster trade sending Terry Dischinger, Rod Thorn, and Don Kojis to the Detroit Pistons for Bailey Howell, Don Ohl, Bob Ferry, and Wally Jones. The trade would work out for the Bullets as Howell proved to be a hustling, fundamentally sound player that helped the Bullets get into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a 37-43 record good enough for third place. The Bullets especially excelled at home, posting a 23-14 record at the Baltimore Civic Center. In the playoffs, the Bullets would stun the St. Louis Hawks in four games to reach the Western Finals. In the Western Finals, the Bullets would split the first four games against the Los Angeles Lakers before falling in six games.
1965/66: Just a few games into the season, the Bullets would stun their fans by dealing away their top player Walt Bellamy to the New York Knicks for Jim Barnes, Johnny Green, and Johnny Egan. The Bullets would make up for the loss of Bellamy by using a team approach that saw six players led by Don Ohl averaging double digits n scoring as they finished in second place with a 38-42 record. However, in the playoffs, the Bullets would make a quick exit as they are swept in three straight games by the St. Louis Hawks.
1966/67: In their fourth season in Baltimore, the Bullets are finally moved into the Eastern Division as Chicago receives a new expansion team known as the Bulls. However, the Bullets would never shoot straight as they struggled all year enduring a 13-game losing streak on the way to finishing in last place with a league-worst 21-61 record.
1967/68: After losing 61 games, the Bullets were forced to rebuild through the draft. They took a significant first step in that direction by selecting Earl “The Pearl” Monroe with the first overall pick. The Pearl was a flashy player, a deft ball handler, and a creative, unconventional shot maker. He was the first player to make the reverse spin on the dribble a trademark move. In his rookie season, he would lead the Bullets in scoring with 24.3 ppg, as the Bullets, winning the Rookie of the Year, improved by 15 games posting a 36-46 record. However, they would still finish in last place.
1968/69: The Bullets continued to improve through the draft by selecting Center Wes Unseld, a two time All-American from Louisville. Unseld would have an immediate impact as he finished second in the NBA in rebounding with 18.2 per game as the Bullets went from worst to first, posting a league-best 57-25 record, as super rookie Wes Unseld won both the Rookie of the Year and MVP. However, in the playoff, the Bullets would suffer a major let down as they are swept in four straight games by the New York Knicks.
1969/70: The Bullets would get started on a strong note as they won nine straight games in November on the way to a solid record of 50-32. However, in a competitive Eastern Division, the Bullets would have to settle for 3rd place. In the playoffs, the Bullets were matched up against the New York Knicks for the second straight seasons. After losing the first two games on the road, the Bullets battled back to win the next two games at home. After the Knicks captured Game 5 in New York, the Bullets forced a seventh game with a solid 96-87 win at the Civic Center. However, the Bullets would fall in Game 7 as the Knicks who would go on to win the NBA Championship won Game 7 at the Garden in a series in which the home team won all seven games.
1970/71: The NBA divides itself into four divisions as the Bullets are placed in the Central Division inside the Eastern Conference. Despite playing mediocre basketball all season, the Bullets would capture the Central Division with a 42-40 record. In the playoffs, the Bullets would get off to a quick start as they grabbed a 3-1 series lead over the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the Bullets would find themselves in a seventh game as the 76ers won two close games. Game 7 would also be close, but this time the Bullets would emerge victorious 128-120. Facing the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals again, the Bullets found themselves in a familiar pattern as they lost the first two games on the road before winning the next two games at home. After an 89-85 loss in Game 5, the Bullets faced elimination at home and came out strong winning 113-96 to send the series to a seventh game. In Game 7, the Bullets finally figured out a way to win in Madison Square Garden as they edged the Knicks 93-91 to reach the NBA Finals. However, the Bullets would run out of gas in the NBA Finals as they are swept in four straight games by the Milwaukee Bucks.
1971/72: The Bullets would stun their fans and the entire league by trading Earl “The Pearl” Monroe three games into the season to the rival New York Knicks for Dave Stallworth, Mike Riordan, and cash. The Bullets seemed to lose focus without the Pearl posting a 38-44 record. However, it would still be good enough to win the Central Division. In the playoffs, the Bullets would be haunted by the Pearl as the Knicks beat them in six games.
1972/73: The Bullets would improve themselves substantially by acquiring Elvin Hayes from the Houston Rockets and drafting Kevin Porter. After a slow start, the Bullets began to make their charge in December, posting a 10-4 record on the way to capturing the Central Division for the third straight season with a 52-30 record. However, in the playoffs, the Bullets would be undone by the New York Knicks again losing the first three games before falling in five games. Following the season, the Bullets would move to Landover, a suburb of Washington D.C. Though no longer playing Baltimore, the Bullets would continue to be a vital part of the Baltimore community playing occasional games at the Civic Center over the next 20 years.
©MMXIV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on May 10, 2003. Last updated on May 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm ET.