On this day in 1996, Hakeem Olajuwon recorded 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks to help the Houston Rockets narrowly defeat the Dallas Mavericks.
One season after winning their second of back-to-back titles, the Houston Rockets hosted a struggling Dallas Mavericks team for an April matchup. It was their superstar, Hakeem Olajuwon, that helped Houston stave off a strong upset attempt from Dallas.
Facing a team that was just 24-54, the 46-32 Rockets were expected to come away with an easy victory when Jason Kidd, Jim Jackson and the Mavericks came to town. Considering their best scorer, Jamal Mashburn, was out with an injury, things looked even bleaker for Coach Dick Motta’s squad.
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Still, Houston found themselves up by just four points heading into the final quarter, as Jim Jackson and George McCloud were lighting it up for Dallas. That’s when Olajuwon’s two-way dominance proved to be too much.
Hakeem recorded 10 blocks in the game to go along with his 31 points and 13 rebounds to notch another triple-double in his career.
The Houston Rockets went on to win a nail-biter 112-111 despite committing 46 turnovers.
By the time his career ended, The Dream ended up with 10 triple-doubles that involved blocks, with his highest block total being 12 on two separate occasions.
Olajuwon still has the most recorded blocks of all-time with 3,830, which is 541 more than number two, Dikembe Mutombo.
His defensive dominance remains the reason he’s one of the greatest players of all time and is the reason he was able to push the Rockets to a narrow win against the over-performing Mavs on this day.