It’s June 7, 1995. Game one of the NBA Finals at the O-rena in Orlando, Florida. The Magic and Rockets are tied at 118 with five and a half seconds left in overtime. Houston is inbounding at half court.
The Magic, a young franchise who has become the quickest expansion team to reach the finals behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Bucks in 1971, are trying desperately to keep hold of home court advantage. An advantage they got from their 57 win season which earned them the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Houston Rockets have clawed back from a twenty point deficit and are looking for a leg up in their chase of back to back championships. With the return of Michael Jordan only months prior, this may be Olajuwon’s last chance at another ring and the recently acquired Clyde Drexler’s only chance at one.
This game obviously won’t decide the championship, but game one is important for setting the tone for the series. The effect on morale if the Magic were to squander such a huge lead on their home court could be devastating. The momentum gained by Houston’s comeback could fuel their rockets for the rest of the series. But we can’t forget the build up to this moment so, let’s rewind.