1. May 13, 1999 vs. Lakers
In the first round of the playoffs, the Rockets faced off against the fourth seeded Lakers, who the Rockets struggled with during the regular season. The Rockets faced the Lake Show three times during the regular season and went 1-2 during those games, which was a sign of things to come.
The Rockets lost Game 1 in heartbreaking fashion, as they ultimately fell 101-100, due to Shaquille O’Neal blocking a potential game-winning shot from Cuttino Mobley. Pippen had a key turnover late in the game, which eventually resulted in the Lakers getting the final points of the game.
Game 2 wasn’t nearly as dramatic, as the Rockets fell 110-98 in Los Angeles, behind one of Pippen’s worst playoff performances. In that game, the Central Arkansas product went 0-for-7 and had just three points, and Hakeem Olajuwon had just eight points.
After struggling in the first two games, Pippen was due for a big performance, and with the Rockets facing a sweep at home, he picked the perfect time to unleash it. During Game 3, Pippen was determined to carry the Rockets to victory, as he played all 48 minutes of the game, and was the leading scorer in the game.
Pippen had 37 points and did it in a number of ways. The 6-foot-8 forward made three triples, which was a game high, and went 60 percent from 3-point range. He also made it a focus to get to the free throw line, as he went 10-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Pippen also grabbed 13 rebounds, which was more than anyone on the Lakers had, and poured in four assists. Pippen was the leading scorer in each of the final three quarters, and his 12 fourth quarter points helped the Rockets stretch a 76-69 lead to a final score of 102-88. All in all, Pippen went 12-of-27 from the field and his stellar play was too much for the Lakers to overcome.
Although the Rockets were ultimately sent home packing in a disappointing fashion in Game 4, they would have gotten swept were it not for Pippen’s heroics in Game 3.