Houston Rockets: 15 greatest playoff moments of all-time

By Jerran Anderson
Houston Rockets. (Photo by NBA Photos/ NBAE/ Getty Images)
Houston Rockets. (Photo by NBA Photos/ NBAE/ Getty Images) /
4 of 16
Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets. Mandatory Credit: Tim Defrisco/ALLSPORT /

13. The Hakeem Olajuwon era begins

With the No. 1 pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, things changed for the better with the Rockets with the selection of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon. It was a sign of things to come in just Olajuwon’s first season in a Rockets’ uniform as well.

During his rookie year, Hakeem poured in 20.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game as he changed the face of the franchise. The Rockets made their first playoff appearance in two seasons with Olajuwon leading the way.

They lost in the first round of the 1985 NBA Playoffs, but it was a sign of what the future held, as Olajuwon produced 21.2 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in through five games, despite the series loss.

In the 1985 playoffs, the Rockets made their second appearance in the NBA Finals with Olajuwon once again showing off what he could do. In a pivotal Game 3, he put up then a playoff-best 40 points in a 117-109 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets would go on to win the next two games after that.

In the NBA Finals, they faced the Boston Celtics, a familiar foe to the franchise. In six games, the Rockets lost to Boston once again behind stellar performances from Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. It wouldn’t be the last time Houston made a run for the NBA title though, as the Olajuwon era officially had begun.