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Houston Rockets

This Date in NBA History (June 22): Rockets beat Knicks in Game 7, clinch first NBA Championship in franchise history in 1994 and more

On June 22nd in 1994, the Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks 90-84 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to clinch their first championship in franchise history.

In their 27th year, this was the Rockets' third appearance in the NBA Finals with previous appearances coming in 1981 and 1986.

The 1994 NBA Finals was a tightly contested championship series with an average winning margin of just 6.1 points. Game 7 was no different.

Reigning league MVP Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets from the front. Playing a game-high 46 minutes, he stuffed the stat sheet with 25 points (game-high), 10 rebounds (team-high), seven assists (game-high), and three blocks (game-high).

Over the seven games, he averaged 26.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, and 3.6 assists in 43.1 minutes. For those numbers, he was unanimously voted Finals MVP.

With that honour, he became the first and only player in NBA history to be named the league MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and the Finals MVP in the same year.

In the low-scoring contest, Vernon Maxwell was the other key contributor for the Rockets with 21 points and four assists. Meanwhile, for the Knicks, Patrick Ewing (17 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Derek Harper (23 points, 5 assists, 2 assists) led the charge.

This game went on to become the only Game 7 of the 1990s decade and the first since 1988. In the 30 years that the NBA Finals followed a 2-3-2 format, the 1994 Rockets were the second of only four teams to win the final two games of an NBA Finals at home.

Catch the full game here:

Other notable events on June 22nd

  • In 1987, the San Antonio Spurs selected David Robinson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft.
  • In 2017, Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler and their 16th pick (would become Justin Patton) in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and seventh overall pick in the 2017 Draft (would become Lauri Markkanen).

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