The best Rockets team in the history of the franchise
Michael Jordan was no longer in the NBA and thus the Chicago Bulls were no longer dominating the league. Olajuwon could sense that this was the perfect moment to grab the NBA by the horns.
This Rockets team is the best club in Rockets franchise history. It’s also one of the best teams the NBA has ever seen.
Houston averaged 101.1 points per game during the 1993-94 regular season, which ranked 13th out of the 27 teams in the league. However, the Rockets were more of a feisty defensive team than an offensive juggernaut back then, as they only gave up 96.8 points a night — fifth in the NBA.
Olajuwon was a force of nature on both ends of the floor for the Rockets that campaign, averaging 27.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.7 blocks while shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 71.6 percent from the free-throw line. “The Dream” won the regular-season MVP award, but he knew his work wasn’t done yet.
After finishing the regular season with 58 wins, Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich was ready to lead his group on a championship run with Olajuwon leading the charge.
Houston started off the 1994 playoffs with a 3-1 series win over the Portland Trail Blazers. He was a monster in that quick four-game series, putting up 34.0 points and 11.0 rebounds.
Next up for the Rockets was Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson and the Phoenix Suns. Houston won the series in seven epic games, with Hakeem putting up 28.7 points and 13.6 rebounds. For what it’s worth, Chuck tried to match it up with 23.4 points and 12.9 rebounds.
The 1994 Western Conference Finals saw the Rockets match up against Karl Malone, John Stockton and the Utah Jazz. Olajuwon, unsurprisingly, was way more motivated than ever, as he led the team with 27.8 points and 10.2 rebounds en route to a 4-1 series victory.
The Rockets were finally heading to the NBA Finals.
Just to get to the Finals, Hakeem had to get through Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler, Barkley and Malone, but his toughest task was waiting for him in the Finals.
Ewing and the Knicks were expected to be a tough battle for Hakeem and the Rockets, but Houston was nevertheless confident heading into the series.
The Rockets won Game 1 at home behind 28 points from Olajuwon. Ewing and the Knicks, however, rebounded by stealing Game 2 on the road.
Game 3 was arguably the biggest game of Olajuwon’s career at that point in time, and he came through with a big performance. Hakeem and the Rockets bounced back from their Game 2 loss at home by shutting up The Garden crowd in Game 3.
Houston won, 93-89, to take a 2-1 series lead.
But Ewing and the Knicks once again put the pressure on the Rockets. New York won Games 4 and 5 and now had a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 in Houston.
Were the Rockets going to blow this and watch the Knicks celebrate a title on their home floor or were they going to fight through adversity?
The Rockets won Game 6 by just two points behind 30 points from Hakeem. Now, there was just one game left in the season to decide the winner.
Game 7 was one of the best games in Finals history because it was close from start to finish. In the end, the Rockets won by a final score of 90-84 to capture the first title in franchise history.
Olajuwon won Finals MVP, of course. He finished the seven-game series with stellar averages of 26.9 points and 9.1 rebounds.
The 1993-94 Rockets represented the city of Houston so well. That roster of Olajuwon, Vernon Maxwell, Robert Horry, Sam Cassell, Otis Thorpe, Kenny Smith and Co. will be remembered forever by Rockets fans.