Simulating a playoff series between the ’94 and ’95 Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon (Credit: Tim Defrisco/ALLSPORT}
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon (Credit: Tim Defrisco/ALLSPORT} /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Vernon Maxwell /

Game 3: 1994 Houston Rockets 106, 1995 Houston Rockets 93

Trying to avoid an 0-3 hole in the series, the 1994 Rockets left no doubt in Game 3 that they’d be putting up a fight. The younger Horry scored the game’s first five points before Kenny Smith and Vernon Maxwell helped the ’94 team out to a 29-22 first-quarter lead.

The 1995 team rallied in the second quarter to cut the deficit to just four at the half behind a flurry of jumpers from Hakeem.

In the third quarter, a pair of 3-pointers followed by an assist from Matt Bullard created some more separation for the ’94 Rockets, who took a 74-65 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Where they had run out of gas in the past, the ’94 Rockets pulled away late behind some big plays from Otis Thorpe. Olajuwon led the victors with 22 points, 17 rebounds and six assists while Maxwell and Thorpe each pitched in 19 and 18, respectively.

The ’95 version of Hakeem was held to just 17 points while Clyde Drexler struggled with just 16 points and five turnovers. The ’94 Rockets avoid a deep series hole with a 106-93 win.

Game 4: 1995 Houston Rockets 105, 1994 Houston Rockets 95

In a game in which both versions of Hakeem were dominant, it was a tremendous shooting night from deep that made the difference for one version of the Rockets. After a convincing Game 3 win, the 1994 Rockets struggled early in Game 4, scoring just 16 points.

True to the ongoing trend, the score at the half was once again close, with the ’94 Rockets clinging to a 43-41 lead. With the ’94 versions of Olajuwon and Horry both making big plays in the third, it was outside shooting from Drexler, Elie and Cassell that kept the ’95 Rockets in the game.

Entering the fourth quarter down 67-66, the ’95 Rockets went absolutely crazy from long-range to distance themselves once again. Kenny Smith led the charge, with Drexler and Elie following suit.

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Smith buried three shots from beyond-the-arc while Drexler and Elie each knocked in two of their own all in the last quarter to seal a 105-95 victory for the ’95 Rockets. All-in-all, the ’95 team shot 15-for-28 from distance while the ’94 team shot just 3-of-14, which made the difference.

As usual, Olajuwon paced the ’94 Rockets with 28 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks. Horry also contributed 22 and seven boards.

The ’95 team boasted five guys in double figures, led by Olajuwon (23), Drexler (19) and Cassell (19). The 1995 team is now one win away from a relatively easy series win over the younger Rockets.

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