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Houston Rockets

This Date in NBA History (June 7): Rockets record 20-point comeback win in overtime to clinch Game 1 of 1995 NBA Finals vs. Magic and more

On June 7th in 1995, the Houston Rockets rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit against the Orlando Magic to win Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals in overtime on the road.

The Rockets were led by a trio of 20-point scorers in reigning Finals MVP Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and Kenny Smith.

Olajuwon top scored with 31 points while also recording seven assists and six rebounds. Clyde Drexler finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists while Smith set multiple then Finals records en route to putting up 23 for the game.

He set then Finals records of most 3-pointers in a game (seven) and in a quarter (five) including a clutch 3-pointer in regulation that tied the scores at 110 and forced overtime.

Despite re-writing the history books, Smith's clutch three (with only 1.6 seconds remaining) would have only brought the Rockets within one if Nick Anderson had made at least one of his four attempts at the free-throw line in the final 10.6 seconds of regulation.

Instead, the game went into overtime and the Rockets stole Game 1 after Olajuwon tipped-in a Drexler miss leaving just 0.3 seconds on the game clock.

After narrowly escaping Game 1 with a win, the 'Clutch City' Rockets won the next three games as well and swept the NBA Finals 4-0 for their second consecutive NBA title. This was the sixth sweep in the championship series in NBA history.

With this title, the Rockets, as the sixth seed, become the lowest-seeded team in NBA history to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.

En route to the title, they came back from 3-1 series deficit in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns and then upset reigning league MVP David Robinson and the San Antonio Spurs in six games in the Conference Finals.

A young Shaquille O'Neal, just in his third season and first Finals, stuffed the stat sheets in this series. He averaged 28.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 2.5 blocks in 45.0 minutes played but he was outplayed by Olajuwon, who won his second consecutive Finals MVP trophy.

For the four games of this series, the 7-foot center averaged 32.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.0 blocks in 44.8 minutes played.

Other notable events on June 7th

  • In 1978, the Washington Bullets defeated the Seattle SuperSonics on the road 105-99 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to clinch the franchise's first and only NBA championship.
  • In 1990, Terry Porter sets a then NBA Finals record for most free-throws without a miss with 15 in the Portland Trail Blazers' 106-105 overtime Game 2 win against the Detroit Pistons.
  • In 1992, Chicago Bulls and the Portland Trail Blazers combined for 31 points in the third quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. That points tally is the lowest scoring third-quarter in Finals history. In addition, the Trail Blazers' 94-88 loss was the ninth straight home-court loss for the Western Conference teams leading back to 1989.
  • In 1998, Chicago Bulls blewout the Utah Jazz by 96-54 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The 42-point winning margin is the highest in NBA Finals history and the Jazz's 54 points are the fewest points scored in a Finals game.
  • In 2000, Shaquille O'Neal went off for 43 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers. In doing so, he was one shy of the Finals record of 22 field goals co-held by Elgin Baylor and Rick Barry. Thus, becoming the fifth player after Baylor, Barry, Jerry West and Michael Jordan to knock down at least 21 field goals in a Finals game. The 2000 playoffs, Shaq set a trend of putting up big games in series openers of every round - 46 points vs. Sacramento Kings in the first round, 37 points vs. Phoenix Suns in the Conference Semifinals, and 41 points vs. Portland Trail Blazers.
  • In 2012, LeBron James had arguably the greatest playoff game of his career. Down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston Celtics, James went off for 45 points (19-26 FGs), 15 rebounds, and five assists in 45 minutes and helped the Miami Heat tie the series on the road. The Heat would go on to win the series in seven, back at home, and advance to the second straight NBA Finals.
  • In 2017, Kevin Durant knocked down a clutch pull-up three over LeBron James with 45 seconds remaining in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. It was the Golden State Warriors' first lead since late in the third quarter and was a major part of the visitors' game-sealing 16-5 run in the final

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