The “Disappointing Great Seasons” of the 20th century
In the Houston Rockets 51 seasons (including this one) the team has qualified for the playoffs 31 times. Not all of those times were the Rockets good or even great.
There have been seven instances where the Rockets entered the playoffs with at least 50 wins and failed to get past the second round. In some instances the West was so good that 50 wins only got a low seed. Other seasons, the Rockets had a higher seed and the fans could picture hoisting the shiny trophy but were left waiting another year.
In 1990-91 the Rockets went 52-30 but only managed the six seed out west. That year Houston lost to the three seed and eventual conference champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.
Two years passed before another great season. The 1992-93 Rockets went 55-27 which earned them the two seed. It didn’t do them much good as they fell to the three seed Seattle Supersonics in the conference semifinals.
Three years later in the 1995-96 season the Rockets were coming off back-to-back championships and looked primed to go for a three-peat. That year they finished 48-35, one win better than the 95 team that swept Orlando. In 1996 the 48-35 record got Houston the five seed but the run for a three-peat ended in the conference semifinals with a sweep at the hands of Seattle.