Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rockets Shoot Back into Finals Olajuwon Lifts Houston over San Antonio

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rockets Shoot Back into Finals Olajuwon Lifts Houston over San Antonio

Article excerpt

Hakeem, Horry, Houston and, finally, Home.

Hakeem Olajuwon and Robert Horry finally put an end to the home-court madness in the West, and the Houston Rockets are headed back to the NBA Finals.

Olajuwon had 39 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks as the Rockets beat San Antonio 100-95 Thursday night, winning win the National Basketball Association Western Conference finals 4-2.

Horry sank six 3-pointers; the last with 1:58 to play put the defending champions ahead 97-93. Then he clinched the victory by making two free throws with 13 seconds to play. He scored 22 points.

It took six tries, but a home team finally won in the Western Conference finals.

Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich leaped in the air at the final buzzer, and the team and crowd rushed the court.

"I'm probably the proudest man in the world," Tomjanovich said. "I don't want to take anything away from last year. It was special. I don't want to tarnish that, but right now this was better."

The crowd had been shouting "MVP, MVP" throughout the game for Olajuwon, last year's most valuable player who consistently outplayed David Robinson.

"I've never seen anyone on this planet play like this guy," Houston's Clyde Drexler said. "He is phenomenal, night in and night out. He does it so easily people come to expect it. That's the ultimate."

Robinson, this season's MVP, scored 19 for San Antonio but missed two free throws and committed a crucial turnover in the final 1:06. Avery Johnson had 19 points and 10 assists for the Spurs. Sean Elliott scored 18.

Dennis Rodman had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Spurs, who had felt anything but a title would be a disappointment after they won 62 games during the regular-season, the best record in the league.

"I don't think I've felt anything like this since I've been in sports," Robinson said. "It's disappointing. You play hard. It's just a crummy way to end a good year."

The Rockets open the NBA Finals on Wednesday against Orlando or Indiana on the home court of the Eastern Conference champions. …

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