The Rockets season ends tonight at Toyota Center -- wait, wait, did we just say that out loud? We mean the Rockets season likely ends tonight -- no, wait, we mean the Rockets' improbable Game Four win will be repeated tonight!! Yeah, that's what we mean!!
Anyway, after the injury-riddled Rockets stunned the Lakers in Game Four, we presented the Top Five Rocket Wins Ever and wondered where it would fall in that pantheon. The top five wins included some memorable buzzer-beaters.
Now Sports Illustrated has done its list of the Top Ten Buzzer-Beaters in NBA playoff history, and how many Rockets games are on it?
Coming in at a measly Number Eight was Ralph Sampson's slaying of these same Lakers in 1986.
And even then they bitch about it:
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Good thing for Houston it was the 7-foot-4 Sampson squeezing off this Hail Mary shot with one second left for an inbounds play, because the Lakers had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at full length defending it. Sampson caught Rodney McCray's pass with his back to the basket, turned in mid-air and flicked his shot at the rim, which rattled around and in to win 114-112. It was Houston's fourth straight victory after dropping the opener, and it left an indelible image of Michael Cooper lying on the Forum floor, not unlike Dikembe Mutombo at the end of the 1994 Denver-Seattle first-round upset. Except shattered, in Cooper's case, vs. Mutombo's ecstatic. The downside: It cheated us out of another Lakers-Celtics, Magic-Larry Finals.
Damn Rockets and their flyover country fans!!
One other clutch shot from Clutch City made the Honorable Mention list: Mario Elie's sealed with a kiss jumper against Phoenix in 1995.
Will magic happen again tonight???????? Ummm, probably not.