The NBA in 1981 meant – Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Magic Johnson, Ice Man & Doctor J.
The NBA #1981 Playoffs featured the same cast of characters as the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia jumped to another 3-1 lead over the Celtics, but this time it didn’t work out like the previous season. The #BostonCeltics would advance to the NBA Finals. It was his first appearance since winning the title in 1976.
Meanwhile, in the west, it also felt like a familiar story. the defending Lakers champion would certainly quickly eliminate the Houston Rockets with 40 wins.
The Lakers were tied in the miniseries 1-1 with the Rockets. Game 3 was at the Fabulous Forum and there was no way the Lakers could lose
Unfortunately for them, Paul Westhead and Pat Riley didn’t plan enough for the player, Mike Dunleavy.
The unlikely veteran crashed into LA and eliminated the reigning world champions.
Now to San Antonio as the Cinderella tour continues.
Next? The 52 beat the San Antonio Spurs. George Gervin and company seek to disrupt the Rockets, but it would be a different story in 1981. It was a season of Cinderella.
Through the absolute dominance of #MosesMalone, Del Harris commands the pace early, slowing down to utilize Malone’s strength.
Game 1 goes to the Rockets and it looks like midnight is nowhere in sight.
Reid would be instrumental 4 years later when another Houston team would make an unlikely run. But in Game 3 against the Spurs, Reid would score 33 in a losing effort.
Game 6, however, would belong to Moses. He and Reid would again get a victory in San Antonio. But it would be MOSES who would lead his flock to the promised land and he did so, as usual, by mastering the offending glass.
It was the 2 biggest words in team sports, GAME 7! And in the biggest game in Houston Rockets history, head coach Del Harris would call up their smallest man in stature…
Calvin Murphy would stake his claim to legend status on this clincher. Calvin, the acclaimed staff spinner, swung 42 daggers and the little man grew big once again
Finally, the 11-year veteran would receive his recognition.
The Spurs were ready to put Houston on ICE and they had the right star for it. George Gervin kept the spurs ahead and Game 2 was there, but not before Robert Reid warned the NBA that he had arrived.
This Cinderella series would start in Kansas City.
Scott Wedman intended to continue the heat he put on the Suns. But Kansas City struggled in Game 1, went to Houston.
As Coach Del Harris had preached all season, success came in ONE WORD: MOSES.
Hitting the paint repeatedly allowed Malone to plant his feet firmly in the mid-range, where he dominates the most.
Kansas City just couldn’t keep Moses and company off the boards, triggering the quick break, accentuated by the six-foot-tall Murphy. The Rockets finished in 5 games, closing out at the Kansas City gym.
The city of Houston had become a believer in the Rockets! Now, fireball rockets had their biggest challenge ahead…
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