Houston Rockets

February 14, 2012 374 No of hits
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Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets actually got their start in San Diego, Calif. and were there four years before the franchise transferred to Houston, Texas. While they didn't make the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs after their 1967-68 debut season, the Rockets had reason to celebrate and selected University of Houston star Elvin Hayes with the No. 1 pick in the 1968 NBA Draft. The Big E. led the Rockets to a 37-45 record and a playoff appearance in his rookie season, but lost to Atlanta in six games.

That playoff series was the franchise's only one during its opening seven seasons, and Hayes eventually was traded. Moses Malone took over as the team's star with pint-sized guard Calvin Murphy. The two led the Rockets to the post-season six times from 1975-82, and Malone earned two MVP awards. The Rockets played in the Eastern Conference's Central Division from 1973-80 and won it in 1977. There also was a four-year run with second-place performances that included the opening two seasons in the Western Conference's Midwest Division. Del Harris coached the 1980-81 team to playoff wins against the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio and Kansas City before a loss in the NBA finals to the Boston Celtics. Just two seasons later, the Rockets had a franchise-worst 14 wins. They picked Ralph Sampson from Virginia and Hakeem Olajuwon from Houston with their first-round picks in 1984 and '85, and things turned around.

The Rockets qualified for the post-season seven straight seasons (1985-91) and won the Midwest with a 51-31 record in 1986 to set up a lengthy playoff run. After wins against Sacramento, Denver and the Lakers, the Rockets lost again to the Celtics in six games in the NBA finals. They won just one playoff series in 1987 and were eliminated after one round the next four years. The Rockets slumped early in the 1991-92 season, and Rudy Tomjanovich replaced Don Chaney as the head coach. The Rockets missed the playoffs that season, but won the Midwest the next two years. They were eliminated in the second round in 1993, but the 1993-94 and 1994-95 campaigns were the franchise's most successful overall.

The Rockets ripped through the Western Conference playoffs in 1994 with wins against Portland, Phoenix in seven games and Utah in five to advance to the NBA finals where they stunned the New York Knicks in a thrilling seven-game set. The Rockets slumped to third in the regular season in 1995, but got hot in the playoffs with wins against Utah, Phoenix again in seven and San Antonio in six. And in the NBA finals, the Rockets swept the Orlando Magic with young Shaquille O'Neal to win a second straight title.

Rudy T. lasted seven more seasons as the head coach, but the Rockets never got back to the NBA finals. They lost to Utah in the Conference finals in 1997, and in the 14 seasons from 1998-2011 won just one playoff series among seven total post-season appearances with Coach Rick Adelman getting that in 2009.

Tags:   Houston Rockets   The Rockets   Western Conference   Southwest Division  

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The Houston Rockets actually got their start in San Diego, Calif. and were there four years before the franchise transferred to Houston, Texas. While they didn't make the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs after their 1967-68 debut season, the Rockets had reason to celebrate and...

By: Richard Martine Created 76 months ago

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