- NBA Championships: 2
- Last NBA Championship: 1995
- Claim to Fame: Houston interrupted the Bull’s dynasty by winning back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995.
- Claim to Shame: The Rockets won just 14 games and finished 39 games behind the division-leading Spurs during the 1982-83 season.
This franchise got its start in San Diego in 1967, but was moved shortly after to Houston in 1971. The team did not move to prominence until a trade landed them Moses Malone in 1976.
He would lead the Rockets to their first title appearance in 1981, where they were soundly defeated by the Celtics.
A new iteration of the Rockets emerged in the 80’s, using the first overall pick in the 1984 draft to take Hakeem Olajuwon. He paired with Ralph Samson in one of the original versions of the Twin Towers.
In 1986 Houston made the NBA Finals, only to fall short to the Boston Celtics yet again.
Eight years later, with Olajuwon still leading the Rockets, they would finally break through and win a Championship, defeating the upstart Orlando Magic in 1994.
With the team aging and needing some new life, Houston acquired Olajuwon’s former University of Houston teammate Clyde Drexler, and they repeated, beating the Knicks in 1995. They haven’t been back on that stage since.
This current crop represents the best chance they’ve had in years. Reigning MVP James Harden has been unleashed in Mike D’Antoni’s system, and last year, they earned top seed in the Western Conference.
In the West Finals, Houston had the Warriors on the ropes, up 3-1 with two games remaining at home. Unfortunately, an injury to All-Star point guard Chris Paul dashed their chances and the Rockets went an unreal 0-for-27 from behind the arc in their stunning Game 7 loss.
It’s a defeat that has many wondering if the Rockets have seen their window closed. They lost two superb 3 and D wings in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, while bringing in an aging Carmelo Anthony.
But Harden and Paul are still formidable, and Houston should be prominent players in the wild, wild West again.