Thursday, March 22, 2012

Analysis by Request pt. 1: The 1995 NBA Finals - Magic vs. Rockets

Background Info

This post is in response to a solicitation for requests I made on reddit. I considered doing this post in the past but I knew it would take a lot of time and I would have to find the right footage to make decent clips. Thankfully, I was able to find decent quality video of Game 4 from the series and I think this game is representative of the entirety of the series. With that said, for this post we're going to take a look at one of my all-time favorite series - the Orlando Magic led by Shaquille O'Neal against the Houston Rockets led by Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1995 NBA Finals.

This series is one of my favorites for a couple of different reasons. First, the '95 Rockets are the lowest seeded team (6th in the Western Conference) to ever win a championship. Second, the path to the championship was probably one of the most difficult. The Rockets are one of three teams to face 50+ win teams in every round of the playoffs (the '01 and '10 Lakers being the other two teams). Even more impressive, the teams they faced - the Magic, Spurs, Suns, and Jazz - had the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best record in the league respectively. Lastly, the two teams played a very similar offensive game so the series was mostly decided by execution.

We'll start by taking a look at the offense common to both teams then we'll take a look at their differences.