I miss the old NBA intros on CBS with Dick Stocton. This was the NBA at its best when it was really about basketball and not about celebrity culture and NBA players just using their NBA careers to make as much money in and out of basketball. But when the NBA was actually about basketball and winning as much as possible. The NBA on CBS whether they had the best TV ratings or not and again they were dealing with a different more basketball oriented audience that truly loved the league and its history, was the best NBA show ever. At least as far as how they covered their games and the caliber of players and teams they featured.
As far as this game, the defending NBA Finals Champions Lakers were in a real must win. Win this game or go home, because they were down 3-1 to a team in the Rockets that was a good young team. But they really only had one great player in Hakeem Olajuwon. Ralph Sampson was a very talented center/power forward, but he was sort of work in progress who would look great at times and then would disappear. This was Hakeem’s team and they had solid players around him. Like Robert Reid and Rodney McCray, but Akeem and Sampson led this team, especially Hakeem. And when they played well, their teammates would play well as well. But this wasn’t a deep team as far as talent and great players.
The Rockets got hot in the Western Conference Playoffs on Akeem’s back . With their defense and rebounding and that is how they beat the Lakers. A team with three franchise players in Kareem, Magic and James Worthy. With great role players and a very good bench. As well as the best head coach in the league at least at this point in Pat Riley. But Akeem dominated them in the post. Because they needed Kareem to cover Ralph Sampson whose 7’4 in the post. Which meant covering Akeem who was a bull in the post at 6’11 250 pounds of muscle or whatever he was, with great quickness, footwork and athletic ability, with a power forward. Who wasn’t use to covering players that big and strong.