Just another day at the barber defending my Houston Rockets
Dream’s Rockets beat Jordan’s Bulls to win championship!
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How amazing it would have been to read that headline. To be able to stop Jordan’s initial 3-peat and bring the H its first title would have been in a word, perfect.
As if the Houston Rockets win wasn’t storied enough, defeating the Bulls would have silenced the asterisk argument* (see bottom) before it even started. Now, obviously being from that great city I have a bit of bias upon reflecting, but the point of this article is to discuss, from a statistic standpoint, how the Rockets fared the year prior (92-93) to MJ’s retirement.
First and foremost we are going to agree on a few things:
Olajuwon was first player to record 200 blocks and 200 steals in a season (88-89)
The Dream was the first player to win regular season MVP, Finals MVP, and defensive player of the year (93-94)
May 4, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Former Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon acknowledges the crowd during Los Angeles Clippers timeout in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Los Angeles Clippers won 117 to 101. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
During the 92-93 season the two teams played each other twice and Houston won both times.
Game 1 took place Dec. 11, 1992 with a final score of 110-96 for the Rockets. Hakeem went 12-19 from the field for 28 points (pts), 13 rebounds (rebs), 7 assists (assts), 4 steals and 5 blocks.
The entire starting five for the Rockets were in double figures. Jordan went for 26 pts, 11 rebs, 4 assts and 4 turnovers.
Game 2 and last match-up between the teams in season occurred Jan. 28, 1993 with the Rockets prevailing 94-83. Hakeem Olajuwon had 18 pts, 17 rebs, 4 steals, and 5 blocks while MJ had 26 pts and 5 steals. Based on the score alone, both seem to be pretty decisive wins for the H.
Clearly, we can all admit the regular season is different from the playoffs, but to automatically assume that Dream in his prime stood no chance against the Bulls is just bonkers!
As time passed, Jordan and his on court exploits have evolved into something otherworldly, but we also had a hero in red. He was hungry, he was in his prime, and he was giving hall of fame centers nightmares. So, let’s imagine what Dream would have done to the likes of Bill Cartwright and Will Perdue. To that end, when MJ was asked who would make up his ideal team, random guess who he picked for center- – The Dream.
It’s always interesting to compare different eras, different players, and to examine the games/match-ups and to think of what might have been. How would Wilt fare in today’s league? Could LeBron’s Heat or Cavs have stood a chance against the 72-10 Bulls? For that matter, could Clutch City have gone back to back against those same Bulls?
We can go back and forth all day and look at stats and even simulate match-ups, but sadly we will never have a definitive answer. Could the Houston Rockets have beaten Jordan and the Bulls…? “It’s fun to dream…”
*1-There a few basketball enthusiasts that believe the Rockets titles should have an asterisk because they did not play the reigning champs.