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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 Hakeem Olajuwon Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Allsport Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Al

Game 5: 1995 Houston Rockets 100, 1994 Houston Rockets 85

As they’d done in almost every game, the 1994 Rockets again established themselves early on, taking a 25-19 lead into quarter two. Maxwell had it going to start the game, scoring eight points for the team looking to avoid elimination.

The second quarter saw the ’94 Rockets build its largest lead of the game after a Bullard three and Cassell mid-range jump shot, which put the score at 30-21. The ’95 Hakeem Olajuwon, however, just couldn’t be denied. The Dream would immediately make his next four shots to draw the score at an even 46-46 going into the break.

The third quarter was a seesaw battle between both clubs until the ’94 team couldn’t buy a bucket for a five-minute stretch. The cold spell allowed the ’95 Rockets to establish a 73-64 lead going into the quarter that could seal their series win.

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The ’94 Rockets wouldn’t get within single digits in quarter four, giving up several driving layups and dunks to the likes of Elie, Drexler and Cassell. Perhaps their Hakeem was finally out of gas?

Behind 28 points from Hakeem and 22 from Clyde, the 1995 Rockets defeat the 1994 Rockets 100-85 to take home the Rockets’ Championship Simulation crown.

Takeaways

Was this a big waste of time? Probably. But it was interesting to see the vast differences that just a few roster and minute tweaks made in this matchup. For example, Horry’s insane 46.8 minutes-per-game average in the 1995 NBA Finals made him extra effective against the version of him that played 37.9.

Elie’s huge increase from playing 11.3 minutes per game in the 1994 Finals to 40.3 in the 1995 Finals also led to some big nights for the latter version of Elie.

In the end, the Olajuwons virtually played each other to a draw in most simulated games, but the difference in the series was the superior outside shooting that surrounded the 1995 version.  In their actual NBA Finals series, the ’95 Rockets shot 40.2 percent from the outside compared to just 30.6 percent for the ’94 squad.

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If all goes well as the season resumes in July, maybe a third version of the Rockets can be added into the mix?

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