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Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

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The Rockets are a professional basketball team that’s part of the Western Conference Southwest Division, and their home court is the Toyota Center, located in Houston, Texas.

Houston Rockets Brief History

The team began its NBA history back in 1967 as an expansion team that was originally based out of San Diego, California. Then, in 1971, the franchise moved to Houston.

The Rockets managed to win just a low 15 teams during their debut season, and they finished with a poor overall record for almost a decade, until the 1976-77 season, when Moses Malone arrived in the team.

Then, during the 1984 NBA draft, they got the services of Hakeem Olajuwon, who paired with Ralph Sampson to form one of the tallest frontcourts in the league, in what’s considered to be the most successful period in the history of this franchise.

During this time, they led the Rockets to two NBA finals, losing to the Larry Bird and the powerful Celtics.

Later on, the team went on to win their first title after defeating Patrick Ewing and the Knicks at the 1994 NBA Finals.

And they repeated as champions the following year, sweeping Shaquille O’Neal and the Magic in four games at the 1995 NBA Finals.

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Houston Rockets Interesting Facts

  1. From 1968 until 1971, the franchise belonged to San Diego, California. And the name of the team has a direct relationship with the actual rockets that were helping send astronauts to space.
  2. In 1971, when the team was acquired by real estate broker Wayne Duddleston and banker Billy Goldberg, they were vagabonds as they didn’t count with an actual arena. They played home games in the Astrohall, the Astrodome, the Sam Houston Coliseum, and the Hofheinz Pavilion.

Houston Rockets Awards and Accomplishments:

  • Championships: 2 (1994, 1995)
  • Conference titles: 4 (1981, 1986, 1994, 1995)
  • Division titles: 7 (1977, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2015, 2018, 2019)

Houston Rockets Hall of Famers and Famous Players

Here’s a list of the top 3 Hall of Famers for the Houston Rockets:

Moses Malone: He went on to win the NBA MVP honors twice, and led the Rockets to the Eastern Conference Finals during his first year with the team.

  • 6 seasons with the Rockets, 2 times MVP, 5 times All-Star, averaged 24 points per game
  • Basketball Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2001

Hakeem Olajuwon: He was part of the most successful period in the history of this franchise, helping the Rockets to conquer their only two NBA titles to date.

  • 17 seasons with the Rockets, 1 time MVP, 12 times All-Star, averaged 22 points per game
  • Basketball Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2008

Yao Ming: At the time of his final season in the league, Ming was the tallest player in the league at 7 feet 6 inches. And, he’s the only non-American player to have ever led the NBA in All-Star votes.

  • 8 seasons with the Rockets, 8 times All-Star.
  • Basketball Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2016

Houston Rockets Rivalries

The Rockets hold rivalries with the Spurs, the Mavs, and the Jazz

San Antonio Spurs

This is a rivalry related to locality and it’s known as the I-10, as both cities lie on Interstate 10.

Everything started back in 1976 when the Spurs made a move from the ABA to the NBA.

 

Since then, both teams have been directly competing for the division title.

Houston got the title first, back in 1977, and then the Spurs took it the next two seasons in 1978 and 1979.

They met at the playoffs for the first time in 1980, with Houston beating San Antonio.

And the rivalry got even more intense when the teams moved to the West from the East!

They met again at the playoffs in 1981, and the Rockets were once again the winners.

Dallas Mavericks

This is yet another rivalry based on locality, and this one is known as the I-45 rivalry, as both cities lie on Interstate 45.

The rivalry began during the Mavs’ inaugural season, with the Rockets winning all six meetings from that season.

When it comes to their playoffs meetings, the Mavs were able to defeat Houston 3-1 during their postseason clash, back in 1988.

Then the Mavs took the series victory again in 2005, but with lots of game-fixing allegations.

And just recently, in 2015, the Rockets managed to defeat their local nemeses 4-1 during the Western Conference first round.

Utah Jazz

This is a rivalry that was born during the 1990s, back when both teams were super teams in the Midwest Division.

At that time, the Rockets frontcourts by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, and the Jazz by Karl Malone and John Stockton.

These franchises have met in nine occasions at the NBA playoffs:

1985: WC first round, the Jazz came on top 3-2

1994: Conference finals, the Rockets won 4-1

1995: WC first round, the Rockets beat the Jazz 4-2

1997: WC Finals, the Jazz took the conference title by beating Houston 4-2

1998: WC first round, Utah defeated the Rockets 3-2

2007: WC first round, the Jazz took the win 4-3

2008: WC first round, the Jazz continued with their recent postseason dominance, beating Houston 4-2

2018: WC semifinals, the Rockets finally got a postseason win over the Jazz, beating them 4-1

2019: WC first round, Houston managed to once again defeat their long-time foes 4-1.

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