Well, now that we made it past the Warriors, we’re on to Houston (and a short stint in San Diego…). Hayes, Moses, Sampson, Hakeem, Yao…one memorable big to the next. This is going to be interesting (definitely more than Golden State….)
(1) 1994 Houston Rockets (58-24) vs. (44) 1983 Houston Rockets (14-68)
Here’s the first of the two-peat. Talent-wise, I’d say 1986 is the best vintage of Houston (and my pick to win Houston’s bracket). Hakeem was great in 1994 though, averaging 27-12-4, plus almost 2 steals, and 3.7 blocks. Otis Thorpe had 14-11, Vernon Maxwell had 14-3-5, and Kenny Smith had 12-2-4, plus they got 10 points from Robert Horry.
You realize this is just two years from a Finals appearance, right? These guys were tanking for Sampson (and soon enough, they’d be tanking for Hakeem too). Allen Leavell had 15-3-7 on an awful team.
(2) 1997 Houston Rockets (57-25) vs. (43) 1968 San Diego Rockets (15-67)
Welcome to the aged superstars show! Leading the show, Hakeem Olajuwon, with 23-9-3 at age 34! Also here, coming here straight from KFC, Charles Barkley, age 33, with 19-14-5 in 53 games.
Finally, Clyde the Glide Drexler, with 18-6-6 at age 34! Throw in 33 year old Mario Ellie (12-3-4), and 34 year old Kevin Willis (11-8), you want to see the ultimate how-are-they-still-doing-it all stars!
Year one of the Rockets franchise…Nothing great going on….John Block had 20-11…in 52 games. Don Kojis had 20-10…in 69 games…and Johnny Green had 14-10 in 42 games. The only really good players that actually stayed playing were 11-12 from Toby Kimball…
(3) 1993 Houston Rockets (55-27) vs. (42) 1970 San Diego Rockets (27-55)
Even better utter dominance from Hakeem, but basically the same teammate production. Hakeem had 26-13-4, 2 steals, and over 4 blocks…Incredible. His support included Vernon Maxwell (14-3-4), Kenny Smith (13-2-5), Otis Thorpe (13-8), and 10 points from Robert Horry.
This was a great year by Elvin Hayes…he had 28-17…and he had some decent scorers around him…15 points from Jim Barnett, John Block, and Stu Lantz. Not a horrible team, but not a chance against 1993.
(4) 2008 Houston Rockets (55-27) vs. (41) 2002 Houston Rockets (28-54)
I know, this team rated this high? And I agree, there are much better teams out there *cough* 1986 *cough*, and this is basically 2 men (plus Shane Battier….but still). Yao had 22-11, and McGrady had 22-5-6……and they had a 22 game win streak……but (you knew there was a but), poor Tracy couldn’t beat Utah (where did he get the name Tracy….no offense to any Tracy’s out there…but that isn’t exactly a man’s name…)
This is the city. Houston, Texas. Steve Francis works here. He wears a jersey. *Da-da-da…dada-dada-da…da-da-da…dada-dada-da*. The story you are about to see is true, but the names have not been changed to entertain the reader. *da-da-da-DAA*. It’s Tuesday, November 27th, it’s hot in Houston, we’re working the night watch out of Miscellaneous Division. My partner’s Rudy Tomjanovich…my name’s Friday. We get a call around 5 PM telling us how bad the Rockets were that season, especially now that Steve Francis (22-7-6) was going to play only 55 games. Cuttino Mobley isn’t highly regarded around the water station, though he had 22-4-3. Afterwards, the caller says, they suck. So to investigate, we got the a Rockets game, and they don’t look to sharp, losing to the Kings. It seems they are tanking for the large Yao Ming. (Sorry, I had a random Dragnet outburst….I love that show…you can watch it on Hulu if you want to watch it…it’s an amazing show…)
(5) 2009 Houston Rockets (53-29) vs. (40) 1978 Houston Rockets (28-54)
Tsk, tsk, Tracy. He had surgery this season, purposely killing the inevitable trade. 16-4-5 was all he mustered up. 20-10 came from Yao Ming, and Luis Scola had 13-9.
You look at this team, and you wonder why they did so bad…then you realize this was the season of The Punch, which lost Tomjanovich (22-6) early in the season. Moses Malone had 19-15 regardless, and tiny Calvin Murphy had 26-2-3. John Lucas added in 12-3-9.
(6) 1991 Houston Rockets (52-30) vs. (39) 1984 Houston Rockets (29-53)
Oh no! Hakeem played only 56 games (21-14)! But here comes Otis Thorpe (18-10) and Kenny Smith to the rescue (18-2-7)! Vernon Maxwell also added 17-3-4. (It seems like there isn’t much to say about these teams….it’s Hakeem and decent role players….let’s just say their name and move on…)
This season, they tanked far enough to get Hakeem. Ralph Sampson had 21-11, in addition to the 18-4-4 from Lewis Lloyd, 14-5-3 from Robert Reid, and 12-1-6 from Allen Leavell…this team sucks……
(7) 2007 Houston Rockets (52-30) vs. (38) 1974 Houston Rockets (32-50)
A sign of things to come, as Yao plays only 48 games. He had 25-9 in them, while McGrady had 25-5-7 in 71 games. Basically crap afterwards….Rafer Alston had 13-3-5, and they had Shane Battier….how did they win his many again?
Here’s the peak season of Rudy Tomjanovich (25-9-3), who packed a 1-2-3 punch along with Calvin Murphy (20-2-7), and Mike Newlin (18-3-5). Zaid Abdul-Aziz had 11-12. How did they win only 32 games? I predict they BEAT this 2007 team (that’s right…write it down….).
(8) 1986 Houston Rockets (51-31) vs. (37) 1973 Houston Rockets (33-49)
Yup, here’s the winner! Screw wins…you mean to tell me that this team is WORSE than any 2000s team, let alone an older Hakeem? Olajuwon had 24-12-2-2-3 (steals-blocks), while his Twin Tower, Ralph Sampson had 19-11-4-1-2 (and he made himself look like a total wimp when he tried to take out Jerry Sichting (I think he is 6-1) in the Finals). But wait, there’s more! 17-4-4 from Lewis Lloyd, 16-2-9 from John Lucas, 12-4-3 from Robert Reid, AND 10-6-4 from Rodney McCray. It’s got superbigs (which you may need in a Tourney with Moses, Olajuwon, and Yao…), and super-depth. Winner….
Not a bad team…won’t beat this team though…Rudy had 19-12 this season, and Jack Marin had 19-6-4. Jimmy Walker had 18-3-6, and Mike Newlin had 17-4-5. Calvin Murphy had only 13 points in limited minutes, and Otto Moore had 12-11. Decent team (why are they doing so bad with this roster? I wasn’t around then, but they seem good…), but no chance against 1986.
(9) 2005 Houston Rockets (51-31) vs. (36) 2006 Houston Rockets (34-48)
A straight year matchup (from 51 to 34 wins….). All these 2000s are making me sick. This is NOT the golden age in Houston. The 80s and 90s should be. I dislike the Rockets from the 2000s, (blame McGrady), and can’t understand why they are up here so much…….It’s a two man team!!!!! They have crap every year for a bench (except when Battier is on them…)! McGrady had 26-6-6, and Yao had 18-8. And no one else….
Heh…that whole “two man” thing caught up to them here. Yao played 47 games (of 22-10), and McGrady played 57 (of 24-7-5). Who else was there? Rafer Alston (12-4-7), and Juwan Howard (12-7).
(10) 1999 Houston Rockets (31-19) vs. (35) 2000 Houston Rockets (34-48)
Another straight years matchup…that’s two straight…This was the ugly marriage of Charles Barkley, Hakeem, and Scottie Pippen…it didn’t work out too well, as Scottie was stuck dumping the ball to the other stars. And Scottie was gone by next year, on to Portland. I wonder if the jerseys was a factor in the decision. Barkley had 16-12-5, Hakeem had 19-10, and Scottie had 15-7-6.
Charles (15-11) played only 20 games, and Hakeem (10-6) played only 46…He’d last another year here before being shipped out to Toronto, and Barkley would retire after this year. Rookie Steve Francis (18-5-7 had a good year, and was relived to not be in Vancouver, who he was drafted by, and struggled to hold back tears…you can’t really blame him, even if he is a ball hog….Cuttino Mobley had a breakout 16-4-3 season, after 10 points last season…Ugly though. Hakeem looked done by now, and Barkley’s body was cooked. Imagine if he could have kept 15-11 the whole year….