Their division championship this season was the first time since 2004 and the second time since 1998 that someone other than the Spurs or Mavericks won a division that those two teams were in. In addition, the Rockets have won the Western Conference four times- 1981, 1986, 1994, and 1995. The Rockets have also won two championships, 1994, and 1995. That Houston Rockets team of the mid 1990's is considered to be one of the best in NBA history. Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Robert Horry, Kenny Smith, and Sam Cassell were all integral parts of those teams.
The Rockets went through some rebuilding recently following the retirement of Yao Ming, certainly one of the most popular players the NBA has ever seen, and are one their way up now. James Harden has blossomed since coming to Houston in a trade from Oklahoma City. Dwight Howard elected to sign with Houston in the 2013 offseason.
New Faces Make an Impact for Rockets
The Rockets also have an array of young talent coming off the bench as well such as defensive stalwart Terrance Jones. The Rockets finished the 2014-2015 regular season with a record of 56-26. good for the second seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets are expected to defeat the Mavericks in the first round, and will await the winner of the Clippers-Spurs series in round two.
The Houston Rockets entered the 2015 playoffs as the second seed in the Western Conference. They began their playoff run against the seventh seeded Dallas Mavericks, who were going backwards as the season came to a close. The Rockets were expected to win this one easily, and they did, in five games, 4-1. The Rockets advanced to the second round where they met the 3rd seeded Los Angeles Clippers. This one was billed as going either way, and it went the full seven, with the Rockets prevailing 4 games to 3.
The Rockets then went on to the Western Conference Finals where they met the Golden State Warriors, the number one seed overall and owners of the league's best record in 2014-15. The Rockets were unable to overcome the odds and fell in five games to Golden State, who defeated Cleveland in the NBA Finals. So far this offseason, the Rockets have drafted Wisconsin Forward Sam Dekker, re-signed Corey Brewer, and signed Jason Terry as a free agent to improve their roster.
The Houston Rockets had a decent 2015-2016 season. The Rockets finished the season with a record of 41-41, good for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They faced off against the top seed in the West, the Golden State Warriors, and lost in five games. In the draft, they would have had the 15th selection, but they made another one of those massive and complicated NBA trades involving draft choices and about 10 players that are impossible to explain in one sentence.
This off season, they decided their combination of Dwight Howard and James Harden wasn't going to work, so they let Howard walk, and he signed with the Atlanta Hawks. Meanwhile the Rockets chose re-sign James Harden to a four year, 118 million dollar contract extension.
So far this season, the moves have worked, as the Rockets currently sit with a record of 44-20, good for the three seed in the Western Conference, and many people say this is the team that could go into Oracle Arena, one of the toughest buildings in American sports at the moment to win a road game, and out-shoot the Warriors to steal one in a playoff series.