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Can this Rockets team repeat what the '94-'95 team did?

Photo by Tim DeFrisco/ALLSPORT/Getty Images

We have lived watching an era of sports in which we've been blessed to have seen a ton of all-time greats. There have been some of the greatest individual, team, and league seasons that can be put up against any in history and argued to have been the greatest.

With that said, we have also seen history repeat itself. Kobe Bryant was the closest thing we've seen to Michael Jordan. Tom Brady has eclipsed anything we thought about Joe Montana and John Elway. Steroid Era aside, we have seen home run records fall, .400 has been remotely threatened a handful of times, and some of the most dominate pitching in a hitter-friendly era.

But have we ever seen a season in any sport, from any franchise come close to what this year's Rockets team may be able to mimic when it comes to the '94-'95 team did? Before you get started saying "Jermaine has lost his damn mind again," hear me out.

I know full well the '94-'95 team won back to back titles and this team has yet to win one. I know that team hold a special place in the city of Houston's collective hearts, and this one tends to hold a special place as a pain in the city's collective ass. But there are some similarities worth paying attention to.

Let's start with the obvious. Each of these teams featured a dominant alpha dog that was/is the centerpiece of everything. Hakeem Olajuwon and James Harden are the two greatest players in this team's history. Both will be in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (Olajuwon already is). Both won league MVP the previous season. Olajuwon infamously lost out on back to back MVP awards to rival David Robinson of the Spurs and made him pay dearly in the playoffs. With the stretch Harden is currently on, he may win back to back MVP awards, but if another player's team finishes higher in the league standings, he may be given the award over Harden. In this regard, I'm specifically looking at Russell Westbrook as it refers to this article for historical parallels being that they have the possibility of meeting in the playoffs. The Thunder currently sit in third place in the Western Conference while the Rockets are fourth.

That '94-'95 team also made the key trade for Clyde Drexler two days after the All-Star game to help boost their run to a title. This year's Rockets team has been off kilter and desperately need to make a trade to help them down the stretch run. While much of this team's struggles are due to injury, the struggles are similar. This year's team is 25-18 through 43 games played, and the '94-'95 team was 28-15 at the same point in the season, finished 47-35 and won the NBA title from the sixth seed (lowest ever to win it all).

Am I saying that this year's Rockets will repeat what one of the most beloved teams in franchise history has done? It may not be likely, but it is possible. This year's Rockets are 9-8 against all current Western Conference playoff teams, including an impressive 6-3 against the four teams ahead or tied with them in the current standings. That 3-5 record versus the teams below them is bothersome, but not as off-putting as it could be. If this team doesn't get healthy, make a deal for reinforcements, and James Harden doesn't maintain his level of play throughout the playoffs, none of this will come true. Admit it; these two seasons do look eerily similar. How sweet would it be if they ended similarly?

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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