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1995 NBA Finals
1995 NBA Finals.PNG
Team Coach Wins
Houston Rockets Rudy Tomjanovich 4
Orlando Magic Brian Hill 0
Dates: June 7 - June 14
MVP: Hakeem Olajuwon
(Houston Rockets)
Television: NBC (U.S.)
Announcers: Marv Albert, Matt Guokas, and Bill Walton
Referees:
Game 1: Dick Bavetta, Joe Crawford, and Steve Javie
Game 2: Dan Crawford, Hue Hollins, and Ed T. Rush
Game 3:
Game 4:
Hall of Famers: Clyde Drexler (2004)
Hakeem Olajuwon (2008)
Eastern Finals: Magic defeat Pacers, 4-3
Western Finals: Rockets defeat Spurs, 4-2
 < 1994 NBA Finals 1996 > 

The 1995 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1994–95 NBA season. The series pitted the Orlando Magic against the Houston Rockets. The pre-series hype and build-up of the Finals was centered around the meeting of the two centers Shaquille O'Neal of the Magic and Hakeem Olajuwon of the Rockets. Going into the series the matchup was compared to the Bill Russell-Wilt Chamberlain matchup of the 1960s.

The Rockets became the first team in NBA history to win the championship as a sixth seed. In addition, they became the first team in NBA history to beat four 50-win teams in a single postseason en route to the championship. The Rockets would win a playoff-record 9 road games in the 1995 playoffs. In addition, the Rockets' sweep of the Magic was unique, in the fact that it was a "reverse sweep," where Houston won Games 1 and 2 on the road and 3 and 4 at home. It was also the second NBA Finals sweep in the current 2-3-2 Finals format.

The Orlando Magic (making their first ever NBA Finals appearance) began the 1995 NBA Finals at home, hosting the defending champion Houston Rockets. With the Magic up by three points late in Game 1, Nick Anderson missed four consecutive free throws in the closing seconds of the game, and Kenny Smith hit a three pointer, tying the game and sending it to overtime as well as setting a new record with the most three-pointers in an NBA Finals game with 7. The more experienced Rockets went on to win in overtime and eventually swept the Magic, winning their second consecutive NBA Championship.

Contents

1995 NBA Finals roster

1995 Houston Rockets

Head Coach: Rudy Tomjanovich
Hakeem Olajuwon | Clyde Drexler | Kenny Smith | Robert Horry | Sam Cassell | Mario Elie | Carl Herrera | Vernon Maxwell | Chucky Brown | Pete Chilcutt | Tracy Murray | Tim Breaux | Zan Tabak | Charles Jones | Adrian Caldwell |

1995 Orlando Magic

Head Coach: Brian Hill
Shaquille O'Neal | Penny Hardaway | Nick Anderson | Horace Grant | Dennis Scott | Donald Royal | Brian Shaw | Anthony Bowie | Jeff Turner | Geert Hammink | Anthony Avent | Darrell Armstrong | Brooks Thompson | Tree Rollins | Keith Tower |

Background

In a midseason trade with Portland, the Rockets obtained guard Clyde Drexler, who had played alongside Hakeem Olajuwon at the University of Houston. Houston struggled in the regular season, and they consequently entered the playoffs as a sixth seed in the Western Conference. They were not expected to defeat the 60-22 Utah Jazz in the first round, the 59-23 Phoenix Suns in the second round, then the 62-20 San Antonio Spurs (led by regular season Most Valuable Player David Robinson) in the Conference Finals. In fact, the Suns led the second-round series 2 games to 0 (just as they did in the same round the year before). However, Houston came back to win the last three games of the series, and then got past the Spurs to reach the Finals, where they were matched up with the Orlando Magic. With Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, the Magic (with a 50-32 regular season record in the 1993-94 season) were expected to win the championship. In the 1994-95 season, the Magic's sixth season, after acquiring rebounder Horace Grant as a free agent from the Chicago Bulls, Orlando compiled a 57-25 record, which was the best in the East. On their way to the Finals, the Magic defeated the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls, and the Indiana Pacers.

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 Wednesday, June 7 Orlando 118-120 (OT) Houston
Game 2 Friday, June 9 Orlando 106-117 Houston
Game 3 Sunday, June 11 Houston 106-103 Orlando
Game 4 Wednesday, June 14 Houston 113-101 Orlando

Rockets win series 4-0

  • This was the second NBA Finals that ended in a 4 game sweep since the Finals went to the 2-3-2 format in 1985.

Olajuwon vs. O'Neal

Although both centers played well, Olajuwon is generally considered to have outplayed O'Neal. Olajuwon outscored O'Neal in every game of the series and became one of the few players in NBA history to score at least 30 points in every game of an NBA Finals series:[1][2]

1995 NBA Finals Gm 1 Gm 2 Gm 3 Gm 4 Totals
Hakeem Olajuwon 31 34 31 35 32.8 ppg
Shaquille O'Neal 26 33 28 25 28.0 ppg

By winning his second straight NBA Finals MVP award, Hakeem Olajuwon became the sixth player to win the award on multiple occasions, joining Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. Jordan and Olajuwon at the time were the only players to win the award consecutively. Later, O'Neal himself would go on to win the award in three consecutive seasons with the Lakers (2000-02).

Quotes of the Finals

Don't ever underestimate the heart of a champion!
Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, on the floor of The Summit after winning the championship.
Drexler with the finger-roll... the tip by Olajuwon!
NBC announcer Marv Albert after Hakeem Olajuwon tipped in a missed shot by Clyde Drexler to give the Rockets a victory in Game 1.

Team rosters

See also

References

  1. ^ History of the NBA Finals: Hakeem Olajuwon: The NBA’s Best In The Mid ’90s, hollywoodsportsbook.com, accessed February 16, 2007.
  2. ^ NBA Finals Records, Basketball.com, accessed February 16, 2007.







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