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View Full Version : 1994-95 Rockets Championship....wrongly clouded?



AWC713
01-29-2013, 01:47 PM
NBA fans love to disregard Houston's back-to-back championships because of MJ's retirement in the mid 90's.

However, MJ not only played part of the 94-95 season, he also played in the playoffs too. And he was still MJ. In 17 regular season games, he averaged 27 pts 7 rebounds 5 assists 2 steals and 1 block a game.

And he played even better that year in the playoffs (BULLS lost 1st round to Shaq and Hardaway's Magic...who later lost to Hakeem and Clyde's Rockets in the finals).

In that first round matchup, MJ averaged 32 pts, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block per game. So it's not like he didn't show up. And Bulls fans shouldnt be able to use the excuse "but he was rusty", because he was simply on his game.

Simply put, the Magic beat the Bulls fair and square. The Bulls did not have a center that could stop Shaq at the time. Keep in mind this Bulls team did not have Rodman yet. They gaurded Shaq with Luc Longley.

So, against popular belief/ assumption, MJ DID play that year (albiet a little under 1/4th of the season), and he DID play VERY well in the playoffs too. The Bulls, as a team, just weren't good enough. But MJ lovers (I love his game too...but I dont' let it cloud reality) refuse to believe MJ could lose in the playoffs.

So, is Houston's 95 championship wrongly overshadowed and "asterisked"?

miller74
01-29-2013, 01:56 PM
They won they earned it, but if MJ doesnt retire good chance Bulls win 8 straight

D_Rose1118
01-29-2013, 01:58 PM
its just different cause everyone knows MJ was not 100%, as crazy as it is 27 pts 7 rebounds 5 assists 2 steals and 1 block a game is not playing up to par for someone like michael jordan, itd be like if rose came back this season and if the bulls lost to the heat, everyone would know rose was not 100%, i dont think people disregard it but i mean, i think people know the bulls would have won 8 straight had jordan stayed in the league

rapjuicer06
01-29-2013, 01:58 PM
They won they earned it, but if MJ doesnt retire good chance Bulls win 8 straight

Yup

AWC713
01-29-2013, 02:05 PM
its just different cause everyone knows MJ was not 100%, as crazy as it is 27 pts 7 rebounds 5 assists 2 steals and 1 block a game is not playing up to par for someone like michael jordan, itd be like if rose came back this season and if the bulls lost to the heat, everyone would know rose was not 100%, i dont think people disregard it but i mean, i think people know the bulls would have won 8 straight had jordan stayed in the league

my point is that MJ wasn't the reason they lost. In fact they were competitive becasue of him. Basketball is still a team game. The aura around MJ is that, with him, it's not so much a team game. As in: "oh they have MJ they're not gonna not win".

But MJ isn't guarding Shaq. The Bulls realistically did not have that strong of a front court, and they got down-right abused by Shaq in that series.

Here's Bill Simmon's take:


The Verdict: Hold on, unpopular opinion coming … I don't love that '95 Rockets-Bulls matchup for Chicago. Their leading rebounder that year? Scottie Pippen at 5.9. (Remember, the Bulls didn't add Dennis Rodman until that summer.) Their centers that year? Luc Longley and Will Perdue. In The Playoff Series That Never Happened, everyone remembers Jordan looking rusty against the Magic; nobody remembers Shaq and Horace Grant combining for 47 points and 33 rebounds in Game 5, MJ being less rusty than you think (he averaged 31 a game in that series), or Shaq finishing with 146 points, 79 rebounds and a whopping 81 free throw attempts in six games. Were the '95 Magic too big for the '95 Bulls? Sure seems like it.

One more thing: The '95 Rockets were better than the '94 Rockets. They basically swapped Vernon Maxwell (a lunatic) for Clyde Drexler (a future Hall of Famer), giving them a top six of Hakeem, Drexler, Horry, Sam Cassell, Kenny Smith and Mario Elie (solid on paper, right?). And that spring, they beat Stockton & Malone (still in their primes), Barkley & KJ (still in their primes), Robinson & Rodman (still in their primes) and Shaq & Penny (at their peak as a combo). Jordan's shadow looms over those two Houston titles, but if he never retired, that '95 Rockets team would have been the single toughest out of that 1991-98 run.

Chronz
01-29-2013, 02:08 PM
LOL a good chance to win 8 straight? LMFAO yeah right

Without Horace around to rebound, the Bulls dont win until they get Pippen.


All that said, you cant really say MJ was MJ. That year his productive worth was essentially on par with Kobe, which may have been enough to win in the past but without Horace, they needed the efficiency of MJ of old. Shows you the different level from Kobe to MJ IMO. But yes, he played well and they most likely lose even if MJ was up to speed. Magic were just a better team

D_Rose1118
01-29-2013, 02:12 PM
LOL a good chance to win 8 straight? LMFAO yeah right

Without Horace around to rebound, the Bulls dont win until they get Pippen.


All that said, you cant really say MJ was MJ. That year his productive worth was essentially on par with Kobe, which may have been enough to win in the past but without Horace, they needed the efficiency of MJ of old. Shows you the different level from Kobe to MJ IMO. But yes, he played well and they most likely lose even if MJ was up to speed. Magic were just a better team

why did they sweep them easily the next year then? there is no way rodman was that huge! they won every game by double figures. rodman was a huge addition but not that huge, especially since the 96 magic had an even better shaq and penny compared to that 95 team

valade16
01-29-2013, 02:13 PM
His regular season PERs the year before and the year after were 29.7 and 29.4. His PER during the year in question was 22.1.

So he was very clearly rusty. That being said, that Rockets team was stacked and the Rockets were the only team MJ didn't have a winning record against so it's possible.

Would've been a great series either way.

abe_froman
01-29-2013, 02:15 PM
They won they earned it, but if MJ doesnt retire good chance Bulls win 8 straight
i'm not sure about that.without a defensive/rebounding big they fell off noticeably ,they needed that grant/rodman to advance.

but as a note: mj wasnt mj that quarter of the year,his efficiency was awful(for him)and defense wasnt great.he clearly didnt build up his stamina or practiced enough to be anything but a shell of his usual.it was very clear watching him

Chronz
01-29-2013, 02:17 PM
why did they sweep them easily the next year then?
Because the Bulls added Rodman and the Magic played with an injured Horace Grant. Its basically a complete role reversal of the year prior.


there is no way rodman was that huge! they won every game by double figures. rodman was a huge addition but not that huge, especially since the 96 magic had an even better shaq and penny compared to that 95 team
The loss of Horace was HUGE.

Put it this way, Horace Grant was so pivotal that the Bulls team that only lost like 2 more games without Michael Jordan had further degraded into a .500 caliber club without Horace.

He was the Bosh of Orlando's big2, the emotional leader and the best glue guy in the league. We saw how Miami struggled without Bosh against inferior teams. Horace was like that only more important because of his superior production/defense.

abe_froman
01-29-2013, 02:17 PM
why did they sweep them easily the next year then? there is no way rodman was that huge! they won every game by double figures. rodman was a huge addition but not that huge, especially since the 96 magic had an even better shaq and penny compared to that 95 team
part rodman (yes he was that huge,go back and watch vid of that series),part mj coming back to dominant form.and grant was an emotional lift for them/and blow to us,that didnt carry over the next year's series

D_Rose1118
01-29-2013, 02:22 PM
Because the Bulls added Rodman and the Magic played with an injured Horace Grant. Its basically a complete role reversal of the year prior.


The loss of Horace was HUGE.

Put it this way, Horace Grant was so pivotal that the Bulls team that only lost like 2 more games without Michael Jordan had further degraded into a .500 caliber club without Horace.

He was the Bosh of Orlando's big2, the emotional leader and the best glue guy in the league. We saw how Miami struggled without Bosh against inferior teams. Horace was like that only more important because of his superior production/defense.

okay so with a full season in 95 for michael jordan, who wins? magic or bulls

Chronz
01-29-2013, 02:23 PM
part rodman (yes he was that huge,go back and watch vid of that series),part mj coming back to dominant form.and grant was an emotional lift for them/and blow to us,that didnt carry over the next year's series
Didn't they carry him out the building after they beat the Bulls? lol, he truly was more important than his already impressive stats dictate. And its very hard to carry anything over when your not healthy.

Its funny but I think Horace Grant could have swung 2 different titles, maybe not against the Bulls but against the Pistons, he would have been a welcome replacement for Slava Medvedenko

Chronz
01-29-2013, 02:24 PM
okay so with a full season in 95 for michael jordan, who wins? magic or bulls
Magic

MJ may have been rusty but he was still playing at a high level, close enough to at least apoximate his peak level. Still have no answer for Shaq/Horace on the boards, hell even Penny used to abuse the Bulls in the post. The Bulls were able to beat conventional wisdom (that you need a primetime center to win) because MJ was more efficient than even the best of bigmen, but you still need someone to rebound and protect the paint. MJ cant do that.

abe_froman
01-29-2013, 02:26 PM
Didn't they carry him out the building after they beat the Bulls? lol, he truly was more important than his already impressive stats dictate. And its very hard to carry anything over when your not healthy.

Its funny but I think Horace Grant could have swung 2 different titles, maybe not against the Bulls but against the Pistons, he would have been a welcome replacement for Slava Medvedenko
yes they did like he had just won them the title lol,it was awful and made bulls fans hate him more for years . his impact was big,hel people were pissed when went to the magic and sparked abit of a rivalry between the bulls and magic(why they lifted him as a hero after beating us).grant is such an underrated player

Chronz
01-29-2013, 02:32 PM
He should have had a HOF career, certainly moreso than Bosh. I dont understand the lack of all-time respect he gets. If he would have stayed in Chicago he definitely gets in but even without that, he should be in.

abe_froman
01-29-2013, 02:41 PM
He should have had a HOF career, certainly moreso than Bosh. I dont understand the lack of all-time respect he gets. If he would have stayed in Chicago he definitely gets in but even without that, he should be in.

alot is his depressed raw stats,(13 ppg doesnt scream hofer)from playing next to such ball dominate players and there was a pretty substantial slide after the injuries he suffered in orl

mightybosstone
01-29-2013, 02:55 PM
Not only do I agree with the OP, but I'll take it a step further. Not only would that Rockets team have beaten the Bulls in a seven-game series if they had played that year and Jordan was 100 percent, but I think if the Rockets had made the Finals during the Bulls last three rings in the 90s, I think Houston could and would have beaten the Bulls then, as well. They regularly matched up well against Chicago and Hakeem's Rockets had a 13-10 regular season career record against Jordan's Bulls.

My biggest regret as a Rockets fan and as an NBA fan is that the two greatest players of the 90s never faced each other in an NBA Finals. Similarly, it's distressing to me that Kobe and Lebron haven't faced each other and likely never will.

Dankster
01-29-2013, 03:07 PM
I remember MJ coming out of his first retirement well. I remember his 1st comeback game was televised on NBA on NBC (believe it was on a sunday,) and I remember that season quite clearly for Michael. He was EXTREMELY rusty to put it nicely. He had a few games in the regular season where he had 40+ point scoring outbursts--I'm almost positive he dropped over 50 at MSG that year as well which was probably his best performance that year. But all in all, he was probably at about 70-75% comparing him to when he had just won his 1st 3 peat.

He was removed from the game for like a year and a half and focused the majority of his time on his baseball career with the WHite Sox organization. I don't even know how much time he actually trained before he made his cameo with less than a half season remaining that year.

Also that teams roster was a bit different. Kukoc became a major piece when Jordan initially retired- I don't believe they had any court time together prior to JOrdan's intial comeback.

I don't like Michael at all, he took championships away from a lot of my favorite players I admired growing up (specifically Magic in 91 and Ewing every dam year in the semifinals/conference finals.) But there's absolutely no doubt in my mind they would've won those 2 titles had he not retired abruptly after his father's death. He was at the prime of his powers at that point, evolved such an incredible mid range and post up game out to 18 feet, and his 3 point shot was even becoming an effective tool. His all around game was probably at its peak by early-mid 90's. NO doubt he would've beaten those Rockets teams within 6 games- regardless of what the regular season records were between the ROckets and Bulls up to that point. MJ is on another stratosphere, and his competitiveness augments to another level come playoff time.

Still, all hypotheticals, but if anyone actually saw MJ play up to the point of his initial retirement, I'd imagine they'd echo my sentiment. He was incredible.

HouRealCoach
01-29-2013, 03:12 PM
I want you to try and take a year and a half(a little more) off & come back for 17 regular season games & see how ready for the playoffs you will be

BTW Houston's run was great... Hakeem is 2nd All time to me

Collings94
01-29-2013, 03:13 PM
The teams that gave Chicago it's toughest series during the Jordan era were teams with quality Centers. Ewing and the Knicks, Shaq and the Magic, even Rik Smits gave them issues. So now they are going to go up against one of the greatest centers of all time, someone who possessed an unstoppable array of offensive moves.

What is should come down to is which postion is a bigger mismatch: Jordan vs Drexler or Hakeem vs Longley/Purdue? It's Hakeem, obviously. At least the Rockets have a HOF player to counteract Jordan, and he would probably do better with Houston because he isn't the alpha dog like he was in Portland. Hakeem had just steamrolled one of the greatest defensive big men of all time in the WCF, now your aksing him to play two chumps like Longley and Perdue.

I don't care how tenacious and clutch Jordan is, I don't think he is stopping Hakeem in that series.

Hellcrooner
01-29-2013, 03:46 PM
yeah lets go on living in fantasiland and forget that since the 60s ( where the celtics had like 8 allstars playing in the same roster)

NO TEAM has gone 4 straigth times into the finals.

yeah buls would have won 8 straight :rolleyes:

Hellcrooner
01-29-2013, 03:48 PM
I want you to try and take a year and a half(a little more) off & come back for 17 regular season games & see how ready for the playoffs you will be

BTW Houston's run was great... Hakeem is 2nd All time to me

Was he at his home eating doritos and ordering pizzas ?

No , he was trainin, a different sport but traning, thus in phisical Shape.

SteveNash
01-29-2013, 05:29 PM
What it basically boils down to is Jordan fans trying to disparage Hakeem and the Rockets.

They can't face the fact that the "ultimate competitor" Jordan quit the game of basketball to go suck at baseball.

Can't face Jordan's complete mental meltdown that ruined his teams chances.

BRADfromOZ
01-29-2013, 05:59 PM
If Chicago didn't have a C who could guard Shaq how the hell were they going to guard Hakeem (who was just a monster when Houston won both of their championships).

Hawkeye15
01-29-2013, 06:19 PM
agree with the OP. The Bulls had no answer for Shaq, or Orlando's frontcourt period that year. As Chronz pointed out as well, the value of Horace Grant was not understood until he was gone by many, and without him on the Bulls, and with him on the Magic next to Shaq, the Bulls were not winning that series even if Michael had played all year imho.

Andrew32
01-29-2013, 06:32 PM
I think the 95 Magic "could have" beaten the 95 Rockets had Anderson not choked away G1 and had the Orlando roleplayers not stunk so badly in that entire series.

I think the 95 Bulls "could have" beaten the 95 Magic if Jordan was at 100%.

I don't any see a huge dispairty between those 3 teams they were all on a similar level.

So the answer is even with a healthy Jordan the 95 Rockets could have very well beaten the 95 Bulls.

There should be no asterisk behind Hakeem's titles.

Daaaarryyl
01-29-2013, 09:36 PM
Cloud?? They won 2 championships and there was never any kind of cloud. People talk about stuff like that about the Heat last year and maybe the Spurs in '99 but I've never heard this about The Dreams' 2 championships. At the time all anyone talked about was how he beat 2 hall of fame centers in back to back years..