Want to know how to ruin a Spurs fans day? Just utter these five words: The 1995 Western Conference Finals. Id be surprised if more than half of you are still reading, but I might be able to help alleviate some of the pain of that playoff series, especially when it comes to David Robinsons performance.
Theres no denying that the 1995 season ended in disappointment for San Antonio, and I wont try and convince you that Robinson outplayed Hakeem Olajuwon. If you were too young (or werent born yet) to remember the events of that series, theres a good chance that the basketball community (more specifically, r/NBA) has convinced you that Robinson got his you-know-what handed to him by The Dream.
The box score certainly backs up this narrative, but stats can often be misleading; there were plenty of external factors that led to the seemingly lopsided matchup between the two star centers. More specifically, there are three aspects in particular that stands out: Bob Hills questionable coaching, the supporting cast of both teams, and everyones favorite Spur, Dennis Rodman.
Lets get started.
Bob Hill was outcoached, plain and simple. Its not a coincidence that he was fired less than a year and a half after the series ended and was out of the league for almost a decade afterwards.
While the Rockets were double and triple-teaming Robinson every time he stepped past half-court, Hill had The Admiral play Olajuwon straight up, and the results were... less than ideal. Imagine having the offence run through your star player and also asking him to play one-on-one against the most dominant force in basketball. News flash: theres not a single player in history who could have performed at their highest level when theyre playing over 40 minutes a game while doing the heavy lifting at both ends of the court.
Hill was reluctant to have the Spurs team up on Olajuwon because he was afraid of leaving Houstons shooters open. This is understandable, but its still not an excuse for an NBA coach to fail at formulating a better game plan when theyll be facing the same team over the course of an entire playoff series. Speaking of Olajuwons supporting cast, this leads me to my next point.
Looking at the record of both teams, one might assume that the Spurs surrounded Robinson with much better pieces than the Rockets did with Olajuwon. A closer inspection, however, reveals that Houston actually underperformed that season. They brought back most players from their 1994 championship team but only finished sixth in the Western Conference. The Rockets also acquired Clyde Drexler at the trade deadline, who had made seven consecutive all-star teams and was the focal point of some dangerous Portland squads.
On the other hand, San Antonios two best players outside of Robinson were Sean Elliott and Rodman. Elliott, for all the fanfare he (rightfully) receives, is no Drexler, while Rodman... well, well get to him soon enough. The fact that Robinson was able to lead this team to 62 wins and the best regular season record was nothing short of remarkable, and he rightfully deserved to win MVP that season.
More importantly, Houston was truly ahead of its time when it comes to their roster construction. They built their team by surrounding Olajuwon with shooters who could punish the opposition if The Dream was being doubled in the post. Kenny Smith, Robert Horry and Drexler all shot over 35% from three while averaging a combined 12.4 attempts per game during the regular season. That may not sound like much today, but it was unheard of back in that era.
In that fateful series, the Spurs only made 23 shots from beyond the arc while Houston made 44. Thats a huge difference, especially when half of the games were decided by five points or less, and the Rockets only outscored San Antonio by 10 over the entirety of the series. If the Spurs had surrounded Robinson with more shooters, we might not even be having this discussion right now.
Last but not least, theres performance of Rodman, whose job was supposed to be the leader on defense and alleviate some of Robinsons heavy workload. Unfortunately, he never fit into the Spurs culture and often clashed with both Hill and Gregg Popovich.
During the most critical stages of San Antonios season, Rodman refused to guard Olajuwon when asked. In his book, Bad as I Wanna Be (NSFW cover), he stated that [the Spurs] asked me to guard Olajuwon, and I refused. Bob Hill came up to me and asked if I would take Hakeem in the first half, and I said no.
Moreover, he was causing locker room problems before the Conference Finals even began. Following the Spurs second round victory over the Lakers, Rodman said that [he] wanted to go to Las Vegas during that time off, so [he] did... This, of course, drove everyone crazy. [The Spurs] didnt know where [he] was, and they were worried that [hed] just bailed on the team.
Not performing up to standard is one thing, but Rodman went one step further by actively refusing to do his job. This put even more pressure on Robinson, who was already carrying a heavy offensive burden.
The Admiral was facing an uphill battle no matter how favored the Spurs were in that series. Not only did he have to match up against the most dominant player at that time, he also had to carry a weaker supporting cast which included a lackluster coach and a player who was purposely hindering the team. Its a miracle that San Antonio was able to stretch the series to six games.
So, the next time anyone brings up the 1995 Western Conference Finals to tries and diminish The Admirals legacy, educate them about these factors and see how they react. It might not change their mind, but at least you can feel better about the performance of Robinson in that fateful series against Houston.
Read the original post:
- Cutthroat Island, One Of The Biggest Flops Ever, Discovers To Be Rediscovered 25 Years Later - Forbes - December 22nd, 2020
- Island Fin Pok will open a new Tampa Bay location in 2021 - Creative Loafing Tampa - December 22nd, 2020
- First doses of coronavirus vaccine administered in Staten Island nursing home - SILive.com - December 22nd, 2020
- On Our Island: Nonprofit highlights of the week - Long Island Business News - December 22nd, 2020
- Roughly 15K still without power on Vancouver Island after snowfall - CTV Edmonton - December 22nd, 2020
- New in 2021: Coney Island's new floating obstacle course will be largest of its kind - WLWT Cincinnati - December 22nd, 2020
- Ghost Of Tsushima Fans Save Torii Gate On Real-World Tsushima Island - Screen Rant - December 22nd, 2020
- The Burnt Island Light shines again! - PenBayPilot.com - December 22nd, 2020
- RCMP investigating sudden death of toddler on Vancouver Island - CBC.ca - December 22nd, 2020
- Love Island's Amber Gill reacts to Dubai criticism amid Tier 4 - digitalspy.com - December 22nd, 2020
- Mannar Island is a bird paradise that survived Sri Lanka's civil war. Now an Australian mining company wants its sand - ABC News - December 22nd, 2020
- Everything You Need to Know About Indian Creek Island, Miami's Most Exclusive Enclave - TownandCountrymag.com - December 22nd, 2020
- Little penguins active on West Island near Victor Harbor for first time in seven years - ABC News - December 22nd, 2020
- Christmas lights 2020: A guide to 15 beautiful Staten Island holiday house decorations - silive.com - December 5th, 2020
- Permits Filed for 2910 West 15th Street in Coney Island, Brooklyn - New York YIMBY - December 5th, 2020
- Giraffes Stranded on Island Saved by Floating Rescue Mission - TMZ - December 5th, 2020
- Fraser Island, a unique Australian ecosystem, is on fire as parts of the country swelter through record heat wave - CNN - December 5th, 2020
- National Guard extended through end of March - The Garden Island - December 5th, 2020
- Why is there a long line in the Staten Island Mall? - SILive.com - December 5th, 2020
- New Zealand officials file charges over deadly White Island volcano eruption - CNN - December 5th, 2020
- Macs Public House owner taken away in handcuffs as business protests dining mandates - SILive.com - December 5th, 2020
- Rediscovering The Brothers islands - CBC.ca - December 5th, 2020
- World islands Dubai developer to start handover of units in December - Arab News - December 5th, 2020
- Air Force To Build Alternate Airbase On Tinian Island In Case Guam Gets Knocked Out - The Drive - December 5th, 2020
- As first Noreaster of the season passes by, heavy rain hits Staten Island - SILive.com - December 5th, 2020
- NC Hazard Mitigation Team headed to Ocracoke Next Week - Island Free Press - December 5th, 2020
- GTA Online's New Island Location: Can You Go There Outside of Heists? - Screen Rant - December 5th, 2020
- Staten Island teacher accused of masturbating during virtual class - SILive.com - December 5th, 2020
- Feds approve sale of Three Mile Island amid concern about new owners ability to pay for decommissioning - PennLive - December 5th, 2020
- Jellyfish stings on the rise off Palm Island, as summer brings bluebottles and Irukandji - ABC News - December 5th, 2020
- St. Paul Island has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, but the community isn't letting down its guard - Alaska Public Media News - November 19th, 2020
- Number of Illegal Migrants Reaching Canary Islands on the Rise Amid COVID-19 - SchengenVisaInfo.com - November 19th, 2020
- Three players at Sea Island test positive for COVID-19 - ESPN - November 19th, 2020
- Mercer Island teen behind international COVID-19 data website tests positive for virus - KING5.com - November 19th, 2020
- An Iceberg the Size of South Georgia Island is on a Collision Course with South Georgia Island - Universe Today - November 19th, 2020
- The US's plans to keep a foothold against China in the Pacific have 'one huge blind spot' - Business Insider - Business Insider - November 19th, 2020
- Staten Island artists recognized for work in diversity, justice as part of 2020 Creative Climate Awards - SILive.com - November 19th, 2020
- On Horse Island, students take regenerative design 'off the grid' - Yale News - November 19th, 2020
- COVID-19 Is Reaching the Last Coronavirus-Free Nations on Earth - TIME - November 19th, 2020
- Avoiding storms and sea monsters on an impromptu paddle to Fishers Island - theday.com - November 19th, 2020
- Queer-Inclusive The Wilds Trailer Has Teen Girls on a Deserted Island - Advocate.com - November 19th, 2020
- Staten Island obituaries for Nov. 18, 2020 - SILive.com - November 19th, 2020
- Staten Island schools begin weekly coronavirus testing: What you need to know - silive.com - November 19th, 2020
- Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor: Nov. 12-Nov. 19 - Shelter Island Reporter - November 19th, 2020
- Blue whales are returning to a tiny island in the sub-Antarctic 50 years after whaling in the region brought - Business Insider India - November 19th, 2020
- Hatteras Island power supply much more stable now - The Coastland Times - The Coastland Times - November 19th, 2020
- Billionaire William Gross Accused Of Blasting Gilligans Island Theme Song In Neighbor Dispute - CBS Los Angeles - November 19th, 2020
- Rowena Pagan and team help feed the houseless community - The Garden Island - November 19th, 2020
- April Freely Appointed Executive Director of Fire Island Artist Residency - Artforum - October 19th, 2020
- UFC Fight Island 6 Bonus Coverage - The Official Website of the Ultimate Fighting Championship - October 19th, 2020
- Do not be pressured to expose our island - The Garden Island - October 19th, 2020
- Joint Statement from the Citizens for Eagle Island and The Howard Hughes Corporation - hellowoodlands.com - October 19th, 2020
- On Brazils Island of Cats, Virus Led to Starvation - VOA Learning English - October 19th, 2020
- Donor offers $250K for lighthouse work near Mackinac Island, now its a race against winter - MLive.com - October 19th, 2020
- Rock Island High hosts public forums on renovations - WHBF - OurQuadCities.com - October 19th, 2020
- The Third Day Theory: Helen Is The Mother Of Osea Island - Screen Rant - October 19th, 2020
- 19th Street drowning is Tybee Islands 5th this year, officials say - WSAV-TV - October 19th, 2020
- Love Island's Curtis Pritchard and Amy Hart reunite during recording of his new podcast - Digital Spy - October 19th, 2020
- Staten Island Home of the Week: Castle-like estate, overlooking the entire island, $5.5M - SILive.com - October 19th, 2020
- Bucket brigade: Lack of water hampers response as Bondis Island Agawam landfill fire smolders for 3rd day - MassLive.com - October 19th, 2020
- 'Love Island' Winners Justine and Caleb Reunite and Theyre Just The Cutest - Essence - October 19th, 2020
- Touchless bathrooms, UV lights, HEPA filters: Rogers Coney Island unveils safety-influenced renovations - Fall River Herald News - October 19th, 2020
- Love Island USA winners reunite for relationship update - Digital Spy - October 19th, 2020
- Inter-island travel to return for Kauai, Honolulu, Maui, while Hawaii County opts-out - KHON2 - October 19th, 2020
- Providencia: An island with a 'sea of seven colours' - BBC News - October 19th, 2020
- Wish Upon a Food Truck Festival kicks off Saturday on City Island - ABC27 - September 18th, 2020
- A journalist's death stunned a small Island nation and ignited a fight for truth and justice - NBC News - September 18th, 2020
- Ice Age Cave Bear Found Preserved in Permafrost on Siberian Island - Smithsonian Magazine - September 18th, 2020
- Staten Island mom becomes a TikTok star with her videos about food, parenting advice - silive.com - September 18th, 2020
- Hunters fight off reported grizzly bear near Island Park - East Idaho News - September 18th, 2020
- Going green: Governors Island could soon house climate center - The Real Deal - September 18th, 2020
- Island Coast High School student arrested for texting threats to teacher - Wink News - September 18th, 2020
- Dream Honeymoons: Get Thee to an Island - My New Orleans - September 18th, 2020
- Jane Rogers position terminated -- for now -- by the Staten Island Yankees - SILive.com - September 18th, 2020
- Love Island USA: Season 2 Episode 22 TV Schedule, Streaming Options & Recap - Screen Rant - September 18th, 2020
- Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre embraces facial coverings in 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona production - SILive.com - September 18th, 2020
- Some Island kids return to in-person learning - Martha's Vineyard Times - September 18th, 2020
- BREAKING: Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay Theme Parks All Currently Closed at Capacity - wdwnt.com - September 8th, 2020
- OBITUARY: Janice Elaine Austin Lee, 85, of Merritt Island Passed Away on August 27 - SpaceCoastDaily.com - September 8th, 2020
- 'They're so vulnerable': Coronavirus hits tribes of isolated Andaman Islands - NBC News - September 8th, 2020