Houston Rockets: An alternate 1994 NBA Finals timeline against Bulls

Retired Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan (Photo by BRIAN BAHR / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRIAN BAHR/AFP via Getty Images)
Retired Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan (Photo by BRIAN BAHR / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRIAN BAHR/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Retired Houston Rockets guard Sam Cassell /

1994 NBA Finals: Game 7

Game 7 – Rockets 106-87 (ROCKETS WIN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP!)

This was the most shocking result. Not that the Rockets won because we knew they would’ve. How they won was a shock. The Rockets didn’t just beat the Bulls, they pretty much ran them out of town. Perhaps it was the Bulls who broke down after being there for the previous three years. Maybe Jordan ran out of steam.

Well, Jordan still scored 27 points, but the Rockets would start the game off well with another

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strong first quarter (31-20). Yet, the Bulls would take control of the second quarter putting up a 21-13 result leaving the Rockets up 44-41 at halftime. However, in a quarter that had for the most part been dominated by the Bulls, it was the Rockets who sealed control with a 29-14 performance to lead 73-55 after three. Chicago would score 32 points in the fourth quarter, yet Houston, who won the three-point battle (41.7 to 22.2 percent) would put up 33 and the celebration was on.

Olajuwon would tally 26 points, which while the other four starters all scored in double-figures. Otis Thorpe grabbed a double-double with 22 points and 15 rebounds. John Paxson would emerge as a shining star for the Bulls with 18 points along with Scottie Pippen. As for Horace Grant, Thorpe finally figured him out and Grant was held to just two points. Again, it was the hot shooting for the Rockets as they would make close to 50 percent from the field.


A few things that stood out to me from this theory.

  • The 4’s of Horace Grant and Otis Thorpe were strong and capable of contributing as number two players for their teams. They combined for double-digits in 12-of-14 games.
  • The Bulls were a strong mid-game team. You had to keep up with them in the second and third quarters or else, they would blow you out.
  • Houston took fewer threes but had a higher percentage than their actual finals appearance. Houston made 36 threes in this series, which was one less than in the real series. However, they only took 107 threes, which was 14 behind the 121 attempted. This meant Houston’s 33.6 percent was higher than the 30.3 percent in actuality.

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So, the result stays the same. Houston wins the championship in Game 7 on their home floor. Olajuwon, who averaged 29.2 points per game in this series, would’ve been named NBA Finals MVP. Of course, as stated a while back, the Rockets would’ve become a trivia answer to who the Bulls lost to in the NBA Finals while Chicago remained the team of the 1990s.

Now, we can all sit back and relax knowing the truth has been set free. Cheers guys and go Rockets.