Jordan’s Early Years (1984 – 1989)
Michael Jordan started his NBA career at full force, averaging 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game in his rookie season to win Rookie of the Year honors.
Under coach Kevin Loughery, however, Chicago would finish with a record of 38-44 and lose in the first round of the playoffs. The following two seasons weren’t much better, as the Bulls again finished with a losing record and were bounced out in the first round both times.
It wasn’t until the late 80s that Chicago started to see more playoff success, making the Eastern Conference twice to finish out the decade. So how did the early matchups go with against a young Hakem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets?
Well, it took a while for Jordan’s Bulls to get things going in that regard. Chicago dropped it’s first five games against the Rockets with Jordan on the team, not getting a win until February 1986, which, ironically, was without M.J. due to a broken left foot.
Overall, the Rockets went 9-5 against Chicago in Jordan’s first seven seasons, enjoying a five-game winning streak in the process.
The Bulls’ First Championship Era (1990 – 1993)
While the Chicago Bulls owned the league from 1990-93, the Houston Rockets were far from being their victims during that time. Jordan’s bulls only defeated H-Town one time in six games, losing by as many as 22 points in that stretch.
The Rockets’ tough shooting guard Vernon Maxwell took notice of this 5-1 record when asked about how his Rockets would have fared against a Michael Jordan-led Bulls team in 1994, as our Lachard Binkley reported previously.
In their lone victory over Houston, the Bulls shot 54.1 percent to the Rockets’ 48.1 percent to cruise to a 114-100 victory. Michael Jordan put in 35 points while Hakeem Olajuwon was held to just 17 before fouling out of the game.
After their third straight NBA championship, the Bulls would still have a good season in 1993-94 as Jordan stepped away from the game, finishing 55-27 and making it to the second round against the New York Knicks.
The Rockets, meanwhile, would go on to win their first championship that season, ending the Knicks’ bid for a title in seven games.
Next: Facing the second three-peat era Bulls