The 1986 NBA Western Conference Finals pitted the Houston Rockets against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets would win the series in five games earning a berth in the NBA Finals. Here are five highlights from the series.
- Game one saw the Lakers come out and dictate the style of play. The Lakers were able to pull ahead thanks to their strong guard play and defeat the Rockets 119-107. After the game many thought that the Rockets might be outmatched because they lacked a strong point guard.
- Game two saw the Rockets more aggressive and assertive on defense. Led by their “twin towers” Ralph Sampson and Okaeem Olajuwon and strong defense on the perimeter, the Rockets were able to lock down the Lakers’ high scoring attack. The Rockets went on to win 112-102.
- At home for games three and four, the Rockets had the Lakers right where they wanted them. In game three they once again went on the offensive, not allowing the Lakers to take over the game. The game remained close but the Rockets were able to pull off a crucial 117-109 win.
- Game four was a must win game for the Lakers. Down two games to one in the series, the Lakers needed to win game four or face an almost no-win situation. The Rockets were determined though and continued to shut down the Lakers with their stingy defense. The result was a 105-95 win for the Rockets. They were just one win away from knocking off the Lakers. The only problem, game five was in Los Angeles.
- Game five will be most remembered for its final play. With just a second remaining and the game tied, the Rockets designed an inbounds play. The pass went in to Ralph Sampson who was able to make the shot in time and give the Rockets the 114-112 win. The Rockets won the series and went on to play the Boston Celtics in the finals. They would lose the series in six games.