Houston had one of the Best Jordan Defenders in the League
Let me start here: no one could stop Jordan. He is one of the greatest, if not the greatest players of all time. Still, the Rockets had Vernon Maxwell, the Rockets shooting guard that probably played Jordan tougher than any other defender in the league.
Maxwell also commented on his battle with Jordan and how the series would have gone in 1994 during the Rockets championship reunion (starting at the six-minute mark).
“Google it,” started Maxwell. That’s what I tell everybody. They couldn’t beat us.” If we could have gotten past Seattle, we would have knocked Chicago off. We were a team they couldn’t match up with.”
“I hear what he’s saying,” continued Maxwell. “I hear what everybody is saying. But I just don’t believe it. Just Google it and the numbers don’t lie.”
Robert Horry also spoke on the matchup between Michael Jordan and Vernon Maxwell. “Dream must go against who they had at center and Mike would have had to go against Vernon Maxwell, who is a good defender,” Horry said. “So, I think in that sense, we would have had the edge.”
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Maxwell lived for moments like matching up against the all-time greats. Going up against Jordan on such a big stage, he wouldn’t have been able to stop him but was probably the most equipped out of any defender in the league to at least make Jordan’s’ life difficult.
Jordan was, of course, the Bulls’ main weapon while Olajuwon was that for the Rockets. The difference is the Bulls didn’t have a player like Maxwell to match up with Olajuwon.
We all know the history. In the end, the Bulls finished the 1990s with six championships and the Rockets finished with two. Rockets fans never hear the end of it when it comes to the legitimacy of their titles.
One thing that can’t be denied is that the Rockets were 6-2 against the Bulls from 1990 to 1995 (excluding the 1993-94 season in which Jordan was away). The Rockets had one of the best winning percentages of any team in the league against the Jordan era Bulls.
No one knows for sure what would have happened and it is one of the NBA greatest mysteries, but looking at the numbers and the matchups, the Rockets were a team of destiny that couldn’t have been denied.