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20-Year Anniversary of the Record-Tying 15-0 Start By The Houston Rockets

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Clutch, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
    Staff Member

    Feb 13, 1999
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    Tomorrow will be 20 years to the day that the Rockets started the season 15-0, tying the NBA record for consecutive wins to start the season set by the Washington Capitals in 1948-49. What was amazing about that streak wasn't just the length and record that they tied, but that they did it against one of the best teams in the league in the Knicks and in one of the hardest places to play in New York.

    The Rockets rolled the Knicks, going up as big as 80-61 before leaving with a 94-85 win. This was truly the moment when the Houston Rockets arrived on the national scene. Few thoughts:

    The Knicks were damn good and confident about it
    The Knicks had won 41 of their last 46 games at Madison Square Garden going into that game and had the league's best defense the year before. They were talking serious smack before this game.

    "This is the wrong place to try to set a record," said Anthony Mason. "They can set the record next year, when their first 15 games are on the West Coast."

    "They'll feel the pressure of just being in New York," said Charles Oakley. "When they come to the Garden, it's like a zoo, so it'll be more pressure because all the animals will be loose."

    Added Oakley: "It's (going to be) like a boxing match. Let's see who's left standing after 12 or 15 rounds."

    Rockets' Road Dominance
    Of the 15 games the Rockets won to start the 1993-94 season, only six of them were at home. The Rockets started 9-0 on the road.

    Hakeem Sent a Message
    David Robinson wasn't the only superstar center that Hakeem Olajuwon embarrassed on a big stage.

    Knicks center Patrick Ewing was considered Olajuwon's equal, if not superior, by the New York-centric national media, but Olajuwon absolutely destroyed Ewing in this game. Olajuwon finished with 37 points, 13 boards, 5 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals, holding Ewing (who played 43 minutes) to 12 points on 4-20 shooting. In the pivotal third quarter, when the Rockets blew it open, Olajuwon outscored him 16-0, hitting 7-8 shots in the period.

    "He's just a great one-on-one player," said Kenny Smith. "No one can stop him. He proved that tonight."

    Elite Defense
    Hakeem Olajuwon was Hakeem Olajuwon -- he averaged 26.1 points (50.2% FG), 13.5 boards, 3.4 assists, 4.1 blocks and 1.8 steals during that stretch, but the Rockets hung their hat on their defense, with Dream as the anchor. Through the first 15 games of the season, the Rockets held opponents to 41.3% shooting and a crippling 89.0 points per game. The NBA record at that time was 89.7 points per game, set nearly 30 years before by the Syracuse Nats in the first season of the 24-second shot clock. Everyone bought into it.

    "I look around this room, and many of the faces I see are the same, but there is something different in the eyes," said Olajuwon. "We are changed somehow. What is the word I'm looking for? Transformed, that's it. We have been transformed."

    Unsung Heroes
    Thunder coach Scott Brooks was actually a key contributor during this streak (played 22.0 minutes a night). It wasn't until mid-streak and later in the season that rookie Sam Cassell started to get bigger minutes. And Carl Herrera was a bonafide Knicks killer. He hit 6-7 shots for 13 points and 15 boards off the bench in this game.

    Just Kept Going
    After beating the Knicks, the Rockets had to play a back-to-back in Atlanta and were killed by the Hawks, ending the streak. The Rockets bounced back immediately, winning the next 7 games to start the season 22-1 :eek:

    Some Foreshadowing
    Rudy Tomjanovich after the game: "If we come back here in June and people say, 'You can't win in the Garden,' hey, we've done it." The Rockets did come back in June, winning Game 3 in New York, and took their first ever Championship with a 4-3 series win.

    Rockets-Knicks Highlights on December 2, 1993
    (If you can't watch the whole thing, watch from the 5:05 mark to 7:22 to see what Hakeem did to Ewing in the third quarter. Also, see current Rockets broadcaster Matt Bullard drain a three at the 3:30 mark.)

    Box Score

    Good Reads
    Sports Illustrated: East Meets Best

    New York Times: Rudy T.'s X-Rays And O's
    5 people like this.
  2. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
    Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2002
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    What a game and what a team! Great read, Clutch, about an important Rockets milestone during an unforgettable season. Herrera? What can you say... 15 boards! As you point out, Scottie Brooks was a key contributor during the first part of that season, which some folks forget, what with ET having such an impact later. A magical year. I can't believe so much of the media called the basketball being played by the Rockets, and the Knicks, for that matter, ugly. If your appreciated defense, it was beautiful. I've always thought so.
  3. oakdogg

    oakdogg Contributing Member

    Dec 12, 1999
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    Memories.........where did the years go???? I'm so d*mn old.... :(

    Great times though!
  4. charlieaustin

    charlieaustin Contributing Member

    May 7, 2009
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    I remember the Knicks game like it was yesterday. We all wanted to know if the Rockets were for real and the Knicks were supposed to be the best team in the league. I was in a faculty/staff bowling league at UH and we went to the bar across from the bowling alley after bowling and caught the second half. The place was going wild! Thanks for bringing back the memories Clutch!
  5. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2002
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    What a sensational game. I was at that game in the Garden. My friends and I who were from Texas and all Rocket's fans but living in NY had bought tickets for the Knicks game as soon as they went on sale. We had no idea at the time it would be the record tying game.

    I remember all day at work being so excited about having the chance at tying the record and that I could be there. I remember reading the quotes mentioned in the OP and and thinking how arrogant the Knicks were and how dismissive they treated the Rockets.

    At the game we were pretty high up in the seats. A few other Rockets fans that were there saw that we were cheering for the Rockets and after half time moved to sit near us. They said they were getting some ugly, and threatening looks from Knicks fans near them.

    The Knicks' fans near us were talking some good natured trash at the beginning of the game, but it seemed all in good spirit. By the end of the game there was nothing anyone could say.

    I'll never forget it.
    1 person likes this.
  6. IzakDavid13

    IzakDavid13 Contributing Member

    Jan 2, 2011
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    I remember all my mates Down Under we're laughing at me & mocking me for being a Rockets fan, and having to order any Rockets gear from the local NBA / basketball shop (because all you could get was Lakers, Bulls, Knicks, Celtic, Hornets & Magic gear in Australia at that time).

    They laughed when I said the Defence wins championships & Hakeem Olajuwon was the greatest center in the NBA. (Most in Australia hadn't even heard of Houston Rockets, let alone The Dream...that's how bad the coverage was!)

    They laughed when I said that we will win the Championship that year.

    I had the last Laugh.

    I still remember that series so well. I orders the VHS copy of 'Clutch City' and watched it over and over.

    Great memories!
    1 person likes this.
  7. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!

    Mar 14, 1999
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    Dwight can't touch Hakeem - that is what dedication to your craft gets you.

  8. Phillyrocket

    Phillyrocket Member

    Jun 12, 2002
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    It just goes to show you that defense wins chips. That was one of the few championship teams in the NBA to win with only one all star player.
  9. SLRokJok

    SLRokJok Member

    Jan 21, 2011
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    Thanks for the read. Don't remember the game but I def remember the streak. Yhen I was bummed when season after we were 9-0. Yhen 3-0. I think.
  10. htownbandit

    htownbandit Rookie

    Sep 2, 2012
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    Actually OT was an All Star in '92, and Cassell was an AS in '04. If you mean that year, yes Hakeem was the only AS.
  11. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

    May 15, 2000
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    New York Knicks... heh
  12. dream2franchise

    Jul 1, 2002
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    Ah Vintage Hakeem clips. It's like goin' to church.
  13. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Contributing Member

    Jul 3, 2002
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    And going on from that, I think Hakeem's performance against Ewing in the finals was arguably more dominating than what he did to David Robinson the following year. Statistically Robinson had a relatively nice series but Hakeem was on another planet, but Hakeem flat out kicked Ewing's ass up and down the court. He shut him down on defense one on one (I think Ewing only had one solid game), and when they came back the other way the Knicks had to resort to double and triple teams and usually preferred that Mason cover Hakeem most of the time instead of Ewing. It just wasn't close. If not for the Rockets guards having untimely shooting slumps, that series probably goes only 4 or 5 games instead of 7.
    1 person likes this.
  14. Zboy

    Zboy Contributing Member

    Aug 19, 2002
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    This was just the beginning of the message. During the 7 game NBA Finals the same season, Hakeem held Ewing to just 36% FG made. 36%!! While he himself shot at a 50% clip against a more physical Knicks side and was clearly the more dominant player.

    The next year, he humiliated David Robinson. No need to go into details here.

    Both of these guys were considered equal and at times superior to him. Hakeem put that notion to rest emphatically.

    Hakeem dominated Bigs in the Era of Bigs on the center stage, the playoffs.

    I was in NY at during the 15 win streak and the Finals. One of my best memories of my life.

    PS. Too bad they got hammered in Atlanta the next night though. It was an emotional let down.
    #14 Zboy, Dec 1, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  15. DarkHorse

    DarkHorse Contributing Member

    Oct 9, 1999
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    Even some of the peripheral guys in this game went on to become future legends and personalities in the league.

    Scottie Brooks (coach), Doc Rivers (coach), Kenny Smith (studio guy), Matt Bullard (announcer)

    Those were some great teams. I hated the Knicks at the time, but you have to respect that they were a great, well coached team. (except Charles Smith, that guy was awful)
  16. BullRider

    BullRider Member

    Jun 26, 2001
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    has it really been 20 years??? I loved that team.
  17. txppratt

    txppratt Contributing Member

    Jun 11, 2006
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    that baseline dreamshake was automatic
  18. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
    Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2002
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    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GNEcQS4tXgQ" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>
  19. shastarocket

    shastarocket Contributing Member

    Jul 18, 2006
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    Great read, makes me really miss Rudy T...

    any recent news? Last I heard he was scouting for the Lakers
  20. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

    Aug 15, 2001
    Likes Received:
    the shot at 7:15 is just ridiculous. i'm not sure what you do when a guy is making turnaround baseline fadeaways with half his head behind the backboard.

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