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Looking Back: Observations of the 1996 Playoff series vs Seattle

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by JBIIRockets, Sep 1, 2001.

  1. JBIIRockets

    JBIIRockets Contributing Member

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    In this dead period, I thought it was time to reflect.

    I just finished watching games two and three of the 1996 playoffs vs Seattle and here is what I saw.

    Shawn Kemp played like Hakeem Olajuwon in a sense that, not even Hakeem could guard him one-on-one. Kemp basically schooled Hakeem many times when he posted the Dream up. Dream had his moments....well not really.

    Detlef Schrempf took Robert Horry to the woodshed. I guess Horry is a good post-up defender, but when playing Detlef one-on-one, schrempf would just throw in a hook over him and score, every time.

    It felt weird watching the cast of characters, Cassell, Horry, Elie, Drexler, Olajuwon, Smith crumble in the clutch of these games. I mean there was some real bad 4th quarter execution and defense.

    How can anyone say the Barkley trade was no good. If the Rockets had Cassell and Horry in 97, they would have lost to the Sonics again. And anyone who disputes this is just wrong.

    And don't say that "just getting Kevin Willis" would have been all the difference,like Sam Cassell once said. Seattle would want Willis to shoot his jump hook, because they knew he would air-ball it half the time (with Seattle's pressure defense). Besides you know how I feel about Kevin Willis. Good guy. Bad player. Overated jump-hook. Real bad playoff performer.

    The Rockets were lucky that the Sonics lost in the first round in 94 and 95.

    Clutch, I'd like to hear your comments about the 96 series, you know, since clutchcity.net wasn't up yet.

    JBIIROCKETS
     
  2. HayesStreet

    HayesStreet Member

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    If I recall correctly, the Rockets had a shot to win game 7 against the Sonics in '93. I don't think it is a stretch to say they could have beaten the Sonics in 94/95. '96 was obviously the Sonics year with the whole team at its peak, but that doesn't translate into wins in 94/95.
     
  3. Lil Francis

    Lil Francis Member

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    I wanted to see the Rockets play the Nuggets in 94. That would have been one hell of a series.
     
  4. Manny Ramirez

    Manny Ramirez The Music Man

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    I try really hard to forget that series. I'll never forget Game 3. I was with this girl I was dating at the time and we were alone watching the game over a house that she was housesitting. The evening was going great and I felt all was right with the world. The next thing I know is that the Rockets blow like a 20 pt lead at home and lose. Then about 3 weeks later, I found out that she had been cheating on me..so that was the end of that.

    I completely agree that if we had never obtained Barkley then we would have lost to the Sonics in '97. Anyone who says otherwise is crazy.
     
  5. Lil Francis

    Lil Francis Member

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    Was the girl good looking?
     
  6. Manny Ramirez

    Manny Ramirez The Music Man

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    Blonde with green eyes and well-developed chest plus she always wore this perfume that drove me crazy. Yea, it sucked to lose her, but we were in a long distance relationship the last month we dated and let me tell you something: long-distance relationships normally do not work out!
     
  7. Lil Francis

    Lil Francis Member

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    Well developed chest is enough for me:D Sorry to hear it didn't work out.
     
  8. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

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    All I remember from that series are 3 things:

    More 3 pointers being attempted than you will ever again see in a 4 game series (hell even in a 7 game series you may never see this many).

    Us coming back from 20 (22?) in the first half of game 4 and actually forcing overtime and even taking the lead in overtime before losing.

    And whichever game it was (I wanna say 2) when we hit 13 3's and the Sonics hit 20! That was the craziest thing I"ve ever seen. People were just jacking from all over the court and hitting. And I think in the third quarter it was the craziest of all. There was one play where the Sonics were inbounding with 2 on the shot clock and some guy caught it about a foot and a half behind the line on the move and just drained it. That's when you knew it was the sonics night. 33 3-pointers in one playoff game is a record that will never be touched.
     
  9. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    That series was over after Game 2. Seattle just got lucky in that game, plain and simple. The Rockets were deflated after that one. I really thought if the Rockets could have just won one game, whether it be game 2, 3, or 4, Seattle would've crumbled. Unfortunately they couldn't get one. That Game 4 comeback was amazing though.

    You can't say the Rockets would have lost to Seattle in '97 w/o Barkley (well, they may not even have been matched up anyway, but anyway...). For one, the Seattle team in '96 was just so much better than the one in '97--not even close, 64 wins to 57 really is a big, big difference. Plus the Seattle personnel wasn't the same--I know Nate McMillan didn't play against us in '97, and he was ALWAYS a Rocket-killer. Kemp was nowhere near the same either--he was the 2nd best player in the league in '96--in '97, he just wasn't nearly as good...I remember there was that controversy about his supposed alcoholism that seemed to really affect him. Also, in '96, the Rockets had NO chemistry, mostly due to injuries. They suffered so many injuries that year, it wasn't even funny. Cassell was actually playing hurt (elbow) during the Seattle series. I remember they were like 23-5 when Elie went down, and it was all downhill after that. So if the team had been healthy all year, they may have been able to beat Seattle in '96. Seattle just wasn't nearly as good in '97.
     
  10. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    I remember this series ver y well. This is back when I use to have season tickets.

    My observations:

    1. I've rarely seen any team play as well as the Sonics did in that series. They hit on all cylinders. I think they felt cheated from 94...that we stole their year to win it. I remember some statements about that. Their shooting really stands out in my memory.

    2. Barkley was acquired completely to keep up with and beat the Sonics. The Rocks thought that the Sonics would be the team to beat for a long time. The Barkley trade worked...we beat the Sonics. But the Jazz played lights out in 97. Damn Utah!

    3. Seattle fans could not stop saying, "houston, you have a problem!" That is easily the tiredest line now!!!

    4. This was the series that ended the love affair (however spotty it might have been) with Bob Horry. I booed his ass up and down the court in Game 4. We had paid for our tickets well in advance. We wake up that Sunday morning (it was mother's day) to read a quote from Horry that says, "hey, we'll get 'em next year" or something to that effect. Damn it, Bob...I've got tickets for today's game!! Bust your ass and make something happen!! What happened to Clutch City?? What happened to the team that rallied from a 3-1 deficit the year before?? Then Bob started walking up and down the court. Literally walking. He was the last guy down on offense nearly every time. I was so ready to see his butt traded. He went on to have problems in Phoenix before ultimately be shipped of to LA.

    5. It was hot as hell in 1996!!! Big drought all through Texas if I remember right.
     
  11. Severe Rockets Fan

    Severe Rockets Fan Takin it one stage at a time...

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    it was awhile back, but wasn't seattle playing a zone defense the whole time too? i think the refs only called like 3 illegals on them, it was like they were scared to make the call or something. i don't know, maybe it was just my imagination....
     
  12. Sawadee

    Sawadee Member

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    I'll never forget that series...it signified the end of an era.
    In my opinion, Cassel and Horry looked a lot better in their Rockets uniforms than Barkley ever did.

    I was never able to accept Sir ****** as a Rocket. And I guess the players weren't either, I've never heard Rockets from the golden era say anything positive about the guy. And it's hard for me to like an attention-starved bully.

    Like many people, I saw it (the Barkley trade) as a marketing move. Of course, I rooted for the Rockets during his tenure, but it wasnt the same. The magic was never there.

    I think the Rocks over-reacted after the '96 debacle. The Sonics owned our ass for years, and we thought that we needed to restructure or team around a fading superstar. In doing so, Rudy seemed to forget that scrappy guard play was critical to our championship successes.
     
  13. TBar

    TBar Contributing Member

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    I feel the Barkley trade was marketing- just as bringing Clyde back to Houston was. Seattle played the traps and zone defense so well they could neutralize Olajuwon. I think we would have had an easier time with the Bulls than Seattle did.

    I really love the '97 team we had - Utah got in our heads and beat us, but we almost won with Maloney as point guard!!!

    I am so glad to be getting younger and not trading for old players like Drexler, Pippin, and Barkley to "give Hakeem one more chance at a championship".

    I am a loyal Rockets fan through the good and bad- but these days are so much better....
     
  14. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

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    And then oh so coincidentally we won 9 more games the next year and went to the conference finals, and Barkley was a centerpiece to our team (and one of the smarter players I've seen on the court) until he blew out his leg. Yeah what a bonehead move.
     
  15. Fatty FatBastard

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    MadMax.....

    Don't call him bob. :D
     

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