Finishing up the Rockets today....
(11) 1977 Houston Rockets (49-33) vs. (34) 1972 Houston Rockets (34-48)
A successful 70s year, which is an oddity. I think the arrival of Moses had something to do with it (he had 14-13). Rudy Tomjanovich was still very good, good enough for 22-8-2. Calvin Murphy had 18-2-5, and Mike Newlin had 13-3-4.
Welcome to Houston! Elvin Hayes had 25-15-3, before he went to Baltimore/Capital/Washington (at least till his unsuccessful stint in the early 80s back in Texas). Both Rudy and Calvin were young (putting up 18-3-5, and 15-12 respectively), and Stu Lantz had 19-4-4.
(12) 1985 Houston Rockets (48-34) vs. (33) 1969 San Diego Rockets (37-45)
This is a worse version of 1986. Hakeem had a great NBA debut, averaging 21-12, while his partner had 22-10. Rodney McCray had 14-7-4, and Lewis Lloyd had 13-3-3.
Year two of the Rockets got them a playoff spot, due to rookie Elvin Hayes (28-17). Don Kojis had 23-10-3, and they also got contributions from John Block (15-9), and Jim Barnett (15-5-4).
(13) 1996 Houston Rockets (48-34) vs. (32) 1981 Houston Rockets (40-42)
The year after the second champ and the debut of their pajama unis. Drexler played only 52 games, but had 19-7-6 in them (he retired after 1998…if he stayed one more year, they could have had Olajuwon, Drexler, Pippen, AND Barkley…that’s like the washed-up-superstars-all-stars!). Sam Cassell averaged 15-3-5, and Robert Horry had 12-6-4.
Why is this team familiar? That’s right, their 1981 Finals team…Not even at .500, but not a bad team (they beat LA in round 1). Moses had 28-15….read that again….28-15! You could call him MVP (better choice than the Doctor…though it should be Bird…). Calvin Murphy had 17 points, and 16-7 came from Robert Reid. Rudy Tomjanovich had 12-4-2 in 52 games. This is his last year….
(14) 1979 Houston Rockets (47-35) vs. (31) 1976 Houston Rockets (40-42)
Some pretty big names, and one MVP on this team….Moses had 25-18 this season!!!! Incredible. Calvin Murphy had 20-2-4, and Rudy bounced back for 19-8. Rick Barry signed here in the offseason, and he had 14-4-6 this season. Robert Reid and Mike Newlin both contributed double figures.
Very strong front three. Calvin Murphy had 21-3-7, Rudy Tomjanovich had 19-8, and Mike Newlin had 19-4-6. Kevin Kunnert also added in 13-10 (if he sounds familiar, he was involved in the Punch…). And to think they add Moses next year……
(15) 1995 Houston Rockets (47-35) vs. (30) 1971 San Diego Rockets (40-42)
Hakeem dominated with 28-11-4-2-3. Clyde the Glide came over in a mid-year traded for Otis Thorpe, and he averaged 21-7-4. 10-2-4 came from Kenny Smith, and Vernon Maxwell had 13-3-4. I know I’ve been complaining how much better 1986 team, but this team was still very good.
The Big E had 29-17, and Stu Lantz had 21-5-4. Rookies Rudy Tomjanovich (5-5) and Calvin Murphy (16-3-4) made their debuts…not much to say, but this isn’t a bad team.
(16) 1982 Houston Rockets (46-36) vs. (29) 1998 Houston Rockets (41-41)
Moses would leave after this year, leaving a hole for Sampson, but in the meantime, he had 31-15 this year, good for MVP. The Big E returned, for 16-9, and then he declined sharply. Robert Reid had 13-7 and Allen Leavell had 11-2-6.
Hakeem had only 47 games to play this year, and had a decent 16-9 in them. Clyde the Glide will be playing in his last year this year, despite his 18-5-6 he had. That’s incredible numbers for someone about to go….Kevin Willis added 16-8, and Barkley added 15-12.
(17) 1988 Houston Rockets (46-36) vs. (28) 1990 Houston Rockets (41-41)
A huge jumbled mess was the story here. World B Free added 6 points to end a successful NBA run, but Hakeem was the real story, averaging 23-12-2-2-3. Sampson was shipped out to Golden State, and Purvis Short came over for 14-3-2.
Hakeem had another great year, averaging 24-14-3-2-and nearly 5 blocks….Is that amazing or what? Otis Thorpe also helped, with 17-9-3, while Michael Wiggins and Buck Johnson both added 15 points.
(18) 1989 Houston Rockets (45-37) vs. (27) 1980 Houston Rockets (41-41)
Nothing too special…from everyone but Hakeem. He had 25-14-2-3-3, and Thorpe had 17-10. Sleepy Floyd had 14-4-9, while Mike Woodson (?!?!?Did you know he had 18 a game twice in his career), had 13-2-3.
Moses had 26-15, and Rudy had 14-6-2. Tiny ol’ Calvin Murphy had 20-2-4, and 13-6 came from Robert Reid. Rick Barry added in 12-3-4 in his last year.
(19) 2001 Houston Rockets (45-37) vs. (26) 1975 Houston Rockets (41-41)
Nothing special…or any good. Steve Francis had 20-7-7, Mobley had 20-5-3, and Hakeem was in his last Houston year, averaging 12-7.
This team seems better….Tomjanovich had 21-8-3, and Murphy had 19-2-5. Mike Newlin added in 14-3-5, and Kevin Kunnert had 11-8.
(20) 2004 Houston Rockets (45-37) vs. (25) 2010 Houston Rockets (42-40)
This is a half-decent year…Yao had 18-9 and he got more points from Steve Francis (17-6-6). Cuttino Mobley added in 16-5-3, and Jim Jackson had 13-6. Nothing special, but not bad.
With that, the average Rockets team is above .500. This is a transition season…They finally managed to ditch McGrady, passing him along to NYC. Kevin Martin came over late in the year, in the three team deal, and had 21-3-2 to finish off the year. Aaron Brooks stayed a whole year, to average 20-3-5, and Luis Scola added 16-9. Trevor Ariza had 15-6-4. Yao didn’t play at all.
(21) 2003 Houston Rockets (43-39) vs. (24) 1992 Houston Rockets (42-40)
This is Yao’s rookie year, with him debuting for 14-8 on a crappy team. Steve Francis had 21-6-6, and Cuttino Mobley had 18-4-3.
This team will beat 2003. Hakeem will eat up Yao, as he had 22-12-2-4 this year. Otis Thorpe had 17-11-3, and Vernon Maxwell packed a 17-3-4 punch. Kenny Smith had 14-2-7.
(22) 2011 Houston Rockets (43-39) vs. (23) 1987 Houston Rockets (42-40)
This is the most recent Rockets team, and it’s the higher seed in the last matchup. Kevin Martin had 24-3-3, Scola had 18-8, and Kyle Lowry had 14-4-7. Yao played only 10 games, and retired after the year. Pretty bad, I guess.
Why so much worse than my predicted winner? Drug bans, and Sampson only playing half a season. Hakeem had 23-11-3-2-3, and they got 14-7-5 from Rodney McCray, and 14-4-4 from Robert Reid.
That’s the Rockets. They had some of the most epic big men ever, and I keep saying them, Moses, Elvin, Sampson, Hakeem, and Yao. Pretty decent team through history, they had some memorable teams, and you don’t need a bag for your head, like a Lions fan….
Ladies and gentlemen, your San Diego/Houston Rockets! Next up, Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers!