#4) June 7, 1995: The Tip That Set The Tone
It was 1995.
Montell Jordan’s head-bopping “This Is How We Do It” dominated the radio airwaves at around that time.
That could certainly be the Rockets theme for that season, showing the world how they did it becoming the only sixth seed to not only reach the NBA Finals but win a championship.
The Rockets were fresh off an impressive Western Conference Finals win over the Phoenix Suns and were quite primed to attain a back-to-back championship, not an easy feat.
The Magic were the favorite — their season, just as magical as their surroundings that adjacent to Walt Disney World seemed to seep through as they virtually steamrolled through the East and found themselves a couple of games from winning the chip.
But the Rockets had different plans — starting with Hakeem Olajuwon, the MAN with the PLAN.
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His tip-in for Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals was pivotal in setting the tone of how they were going to handle the Magic and they never really recovered after that.
Tied at 118-all in overtime with just a few ticks on the clock, Clyde Drexler had driven in hopes of winning the game himself but his effort was largely amiss. Luckily, Dream was able to pick up the slack and tip the ball back in the hoop with 0.3 seconds left on the clock, giving the Magic virtually no time to counter.
Strange things happened that game — and the Magic had no answers in regard to how they were going to defend the Rockets.
Lest we not forget that Anderson, a polished free-throw shooter, missed four free throws in a row down the stretch with 10.5 seconds left in regulation to allow the Rockets to tie, take it to overtime and get the W.
The Magic were up by as much as 20 points earlier in that game.
Anderson never recovered after that causing his free throw percentage to tumble from the mid-80s all the way to low 40s.
I’m positive that moment continued to haunt him every time he had to step up to the charity stripe for the rest of his career.
Olajuwon finished with 31 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four blocks going on to win the prestigious NBA Finals MVP Award for 1995 after the Rockets swept them out the door in four games.
This was just one of those Rockets’ moments that makes you grin from ear-to-ear and thankful that we had such a dynamic player of his stature for so long.
Next: CLICK HERE: Clutch Shot No. 3: A Step Closer To The Promised Land