On this day in 1981, not even George Gervin could stop Calvin Murphy from dropping 42 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a Game 7 victory on the road.
After being swept in the Eastern Conference Semifinals the season before, the Houston Rockets were determined to advance further in the 1980-81 campaign. Thanks to the efforts of one of the greatest Rockets ever in Calvin Murphy, they did exactly that.
Behind the double-headed snake of Moses Malone and Calvin Murphy, the Rockets had defeated the San Antonio Spurs 2-1 in the first round of the 1980 playoffs. As the playoffs came around again in 1981, Houston would again face off against George Gervin and company, but this time in the second round.
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The series was hard-fought throughout, with both teams winning on their opponent’s home court twice in the first six games.
After a Spurs Game 6 victory in Houston, they had a chance to play host for the series-deciding Game 7.
On April 17, 1981, the Texas rivals battled it out in a game that went down to the wire. After three quarters, the Rockets were clinging to a 79-78 lead.
Calvin Murphy could not be denied, though, pouring in 42 points to will the Rockets to their third road victory of the series, 105-100.
George Gervin and Mark Olberding paced the Spurs, with 21 and 20 points, respectively.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 17, 2020
Still, for a team that went 40-42 in the regular season, an appearance in the NBA Finals was impressive in its own right.