I guess asking for a mandatory Rockets test would be too much.
However, we should a quiz section with some very basic Rockets knowledge.
it doesn't matter if you pass, if you take the test, you'll get the knowledge you need to be considered a basic Rockets fan. Maybe we could have 'certified' label for each member who has taken the test.
Why am I talking about this? read below
Originally Posted by ANONYMOUS BULLS FAN
what is your basis for making this claim.
if you're insinuating / rationalizng is true, would Dream have won rings way before meeting Shaq. if im not wrong, Dream never got close to making the finals until Jordan had retired.
Paper: Houston Chronicle
Date: Thu 02/16/2006
Edition: 3 STAR
'86 ROCKETS: THE LOST DYNASTY / The TALENTED TEAM OF 20 YEARS AGO seemed destined to win a string of championships, but big plans ended in a nightmare of drug suspensions and Ralph Sampsonís injury
By FRAN BLINEBURY
THERE was one second on the clock when Rodney McCray threw the perfect inbounds pass that Ralph Sampson jumped and caught with two hands. James Worthy stood frozen, having never made a move to cover, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar backed away on defense, not wanting to be called for a foul.
Sampson's body was a giant corkscrew, twisting 10 feet out on the left side of the lane, and he let fly with a careful, prayerful shot that tapped like an out-of-breath clog dancer on the front, the back, then the front of the rim again before collapsing with a last gasp down into the net.
On May 21, 1986, the Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 114-112 at The Forum, completing a five-game playoff blitz of the defending champions and advancing to play the Boston Celtics in what was supposed to be the first of many trips to the NBA Finals.
The Rockets would lose the championship round to the Celtics, four games to two, yet there was no reason for Houston fans to be anything except optimistic about the future. They had the young Twin Towers of Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon anchoring their frontline and a fast break that could crackle like summer lightning.
"I thought we had a dynasty," said backup forward Jim Petersen.
"In our own minds, we probably figured we were a year ahead of schedule, and we'd be back to finish the job," said guard Robert Reid.
"There was a disappointment, for sure, in not beating Boston," said McCray. "Still, we came away from that experience feeling good, knowing that we had really whipped the Lakers.
"That was our time. It was before the rise of the Bad Boys in Detroit, before Jordan and the Bulls came on. In my mind, we were a lock to win one championship and probably more. This was only the beginning."
But in truth, it was already the beginning of the end. The Rockets had made it through the minefield of the playoffs after having to change their lineup when point guard John Lucas was suspended by the league a third time for having failed a drug test.
Midway through the next season, guards Lewis Lloyd and Mitchell Wiggins would fail drug tests. And within 19 months of his making the shot to beat L.A., Sampson - the former No. 1 overall pick in the draft, former Rookie of the Year and four-time All-Star - would be hobbled by bad knees and traded to the Golden State Warriors.
Long before the cast of "Lost "veered off course to an uncharted island in the Pacific to launch a hit show, the crash of the 1986 Rockets turned them into perhaps the NBA's greatest Lost Dynasty. Twenty seasons later, they still know it.
"It was a really good ballclub and probably missed its mark in history with all the things it could have done," said head coach Bill Fitch. "I had so much fun coaching that team, because they had a lot of talent and because they were, for the most part, willing to do everything I asked of them.
"That team had a lot of guys who could shoot and would shoot the big shots at the end of games. It had a player like Ralph, who could do a lot of different things at 7-4, like get the ball off the glass and throw the outlet or run down the floor and finish the break.
"It had Dream in the middle to be relentless on defense and make offensive moves that nobody could stop. It had a Rodney McCray, who would do so many of the little things that are so important. It had Lew, who just loved to play the game."
It was a team that came together according to plan. The Rockets had won back-to-back coin flips for the right to make Sampson and Olajuwon consecutive No. 1 draft picks in 1983 and 1984. They had chosen McCray with the No. 3 pick in 1983 to be a passer, defender and complementary part. They signed Lloyd as a free agent, traded for Wiggins and then handpicked the veteran Lucas to run the offense.
"We took a lot of criticism for drafting Hakeem when we already had Ralph," said general manager Carroll Dawson, who was then an assistant coach. "But we were excited about the Twin Towers concept. We were pretty sure it could work, and once it did, everybody around the league tried to copy it."
Fitch loved the fast break and had a cast of characters who could run it. None did it with such relish as Lloyd, who'd been cast off by Golden State in 1983 and became a fifth gear for the Rockets' running game.
"I know there were guys back then waking up in cold sweats with dreams of Lew Lloyd coming at them on the break," Fitch said.
"The only player I ever saw who could get to the basket like him was Earl Monroe."
The '86 Rockets were deep. When Lucas was suspended, the veteran Reid was able to shift from shooting guard and handle most of the point guard duties in the playoffs. Behind him was the tenacious Allen Leavell, who had a broken wrist through most of the postseason but played a clutch role in the second half of the clinching win over the Lakers.
Petersen was an invaluble backup at the power forward spot who could bang on the inside for rebounds and bury the medium-range jump shots. Wiggins struggled at first to mesh his personality with that of Fitch but eventually became a defensive stopper who roughed up and bottled up Magic Johnson. The Rockets were so deep that swingman Craig Ehlo, who wound up playing more than a decade in the league, couldn't get any time off the bench.
"It was not just like many teams that you see today," Olajuwon wrote in an e-mail from Amman, Jordan. "The 1986 Rockets were a complete team, and we were not lacking at any position.
"What we might have lacked in experience, we made up for with enthusiasm and never backing down from any challenge. Nobody really thought we could beat the Lakers that year. But we did it convincingly. We knew what we had."
What the Rockets also had before March 14, when Lucas was suspended, was a smart, gritty, talented quarterback who could run the offense virtually blindfolded, tossing lob passes for dunks to Sampson and Olajuwon.
"I told John a couple weeks after he was out that he was costing me six to eight points a game, and everything wasn't so easy all of a sudden," Sampson said.
The Rockets zoomed out of the gate, starting the season 9-2. They went 14-3 from Dec. 26 to Jan. 30 and were 41-25 when Lucas failed the drug test.
"I don't mean to be disrespectful to anyone or in any way put a knock on accomplishments of the organization," Lucas said. "But when I walk around Houston now and I hear people talk about winning those championships in '94 and '95, I just shake my head. I tell them, `You've either forgotten or you have never seen the best Rockets team. I know. I was a part of it. And I was a big part of bringing it down.'
"I'm telling you, we'd have beaten Boston if I was there. You look at most teams that are put together like that one and they get about an eight- to 10-year window. We didn't know it, but our window was right there, and then it slammed shut."
What the Rockets also didn't know was the first crack in their foundation had appeared when Sampson was undercut while going for a rebound at Boston Garden on March 24. There was a sickening thud when his head cracked against the parquet floor. However, the real damage was done to his back and left hip.
Big man hobbled
Sampson sat out for the first time in his career, missing three games and coming back with a limp. When he began to overcompensate for the pain in his hip, it led to the start of knee problems that would require three operations and cut short his career as an All-Star player. For the final six weeks of the regular season, Fitch closed practice to the media to keep a lid on the extent of the injury.
"It was hard thing to see," Fitch said. "A lot of days, he could barely run, and he couldn't do anything to stop Dream defensively."
"I was never the same from the time I went down in Boston," Sampson said. "It was like I couldn't play my game."
The Rockets started the next season 2-0 but then struggled. On the morning of Jan. 13, 1987 they were 15-18 when word came down that Lloyd and Wiggins had failed drug tests and been suspended by the league.
"I'll never forget. The night before that test, I was in the Summit and Wiggins was there shooting," Fitch said. "The news then was that Micheal Ray Richardson had flunked a drug test with a huge quantity in his system. Wig looked at me and said, `Don't worry about a thing, Coach. I'm clean.' The very next day he broke Micheal Ray's record. He was off the charts on the test."
The would-be dynasty was coming unglued.
"It's one thing to have injuries," said McCray. "But when guys have drug problems, there's a different kind of feeling. It's a personal letdown. You feel for them. You want them to recover. But you sit back and reflect and say, `Why did they have to do that?' "
Lack of focus
Olajuwon agreed with McCray.
"I believe we really had the potential to be a dynasty," he said. "There were a lot of championships there for us. But being a dynasty doesn't just come by accident. You have to stay focused on the goal, on and off the court."
On Feb. 3, while trying to make a cut against Bill Hanzlik of Denver, Sampson slipped on a wet spot at the Summit and tore ligaments in his left knee. The injury required surgery and forced him to miss 39 games.
The Rockets finished the regular season 42-40 and lost to Seattle in the second round of the playoffs, eliminated on a night when Olajuwon scored 49 points and grabbed 25 rebounds.
Seven months later, Sampson was traded to Golden State in a deal for Joe Barry Carroll and Sleepy Floyd.
`Gone in a heartbeat'
"When you think about where we were, just a short time earlier, man," said Reid. "The Celtics and Lakers still had their starting fives together and we were all broken up - John, Lew, Wig, then Ralph. It was all gone in a heartbeat."
Dawson walks down the hallway outside his Toyota Center office every day past the collection of team photos through the years. Occasionally, he'll still pause and linger in front of that group from 1986.
"There are still scars that don't heal from that experience," he said. "They deserved better."
McCray can still close his eyes and conjure up the atmosphere, the energy of May 21, 1986 at The Forum.
"I remember running out of the tunnel before the game, the packed house, the movie stars in their seats," he said. "And I remember thinking, `We're gonna be doing this every year. It's just the start.' "
For the Lost Dynasty, it was the beginning of the end.