It’s not 25 years to the day, but it’s close, and with nothing else going on right now, we figured it a good time to take a look back.
On April 9, 1995, Clyde Drexler, who had come to the Houston Rockets just two months earlier in a surprising deal for fan favorite Otis Thorpe, truly became accepted by the team after hitting this famous buzzer beater against the Denver Nuggets.
Drexler led the team, who were playing without an injured Hakeem Olajuwon, back from an 11-point deficit and capped it off with one of the most famous individual shots in team history.
Up until that point, several of Drexler’s new teammates were reportedly a bit standoffish with the team’s new star, unsure of why team management had broken up a championship group to bring in a guy whose team lost the Rockets in the playoffs a year prior.
But this was the game where Drexler showed both his new teammates and fans what he was all about. “Oh, he’s special,” was Kenny Smith’s response after Drexler began to truly turn on the juice.
Clyde went on to average 21.4 points, 7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game on 50.6 percent shooting from the field and and 35.7 percent from deep. He was also clutch in the postseason, scoring 72 points in the final two games of the opening series against the Utah Jazz after the Rockets had fallen behind 2-1. They would beat the Jazz in five games (best of five series).
He also had 29 in the Game 7 victory over the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semifinals and 23 points, 11 boards, and 7 assists in the series-opening win over the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals that set the tone for a Rockets sweep.
He finished the playoffs with averages of 20.5 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.5 steals, along 48.1 percent from the field, and most importantly — a big, fat championship ring.