Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets

Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets

Mon Dec 20 2021 At 7:00 PM

United Center

1901 West Madison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60612

United Center
Chicago, IL, 60612

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CHICAGO BULLS

The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago. The Bulls compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a memberThe Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago. The Bulls compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division. The team was founded on January 16, 1966, and played its first game during the 1966–67 NBA season. The Bulls play their home games at the United Center, an arena on Chicago's West Side shared with the National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks. The Bulls saw their greatest success during the 1990s when they played a major part in popularizing the NBA worldwide. They are known for having one of the NBA's greatest dynasties, winning six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. All six of their championship teams were led by Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and coach Phil Jackson. The Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships while never losing an NBA Finals series in their history.The Bulls won 72 games during the 1995–96 season, setting an NBA record that stood until the Golden State Warriors won 73 games during the 2015–16 season. The Bulls were the first team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season, and the only NBA franchise to do so until the 2015–16 Warriors.Since 1998, the Bulls have failed to regain their former success. The franchise struggled throughout the 2000s, but showed promise in the early 2010s, lead by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, culminating in a 62-win season in 2010–11. However, due to injuries to and departures of key players, the franchise was never able to build on that success and has sunk back into mediocrity since. Michael Jordan and Derrick Rose have both won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award while playing for the Bulls, for a total of six MVP awards. The Bulls share rivalries with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and the New York Knicks. The Bulls' rivalry with the Pistons was highlighted heavily during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

HOUSTON ROCKETS

1967 as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team originally based in San Diego. In 1971, the Rockets relocated to Houston. The Rockets won only 15 games inThe Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston. The Rockets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member team of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division. The team plays its home games at the Toyota Center, located in Downtown Houston. Throughout its history, Houston has won two NBA championships and four Western Conference titles. It was established in 1967 as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team originally based in San Diego. In 1971, the Rockets relocated to Houston. The Rockets won only 15 games in their debut season as a franchise in 1967. In the 1968 NBA draft, the Rockets were awarded the first overall pick and selected power forward Elvin Hayes, who would lead the team to its first playoff appearance in his rookie season. The Rockets did not finish a season with a winning record for almost a decade until the 1976–77 season, when they traded for All-Star center Moses Malone. Malone went on to win the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award twice while playing with the Rockets and led Houston to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year with the team. During the 1980–81 season, the Rockets finished the regular season with a 40–42 record but still made the playoffs. Led by Malone, the Rockets reached their first NBA Finals in 1981, becoming only the second team in NBA history to do so with a losing record. They would lose in six games to the 62–20 Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and future Rockets head coach Kevin McHale. As of 2021, the 1980–81 Rockets are the last team since the 1954–55 Minneapolis Lakers to make it all the way to the NBA Finals with a losing record. In the 1984 NBA draft, once again with the first overall pick, the Rockets drafted center Hakeem Olajuwon, who would become the cornerstone of the most successful period in franchise history. Paired with 7 feet 4 inches (2.24 m) Ralph Sampson, they formed one of the tallest front courts in the NBA. Nicknamed the "Twin Towers", they led the team to the 1986 NBA Finals—the second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—where Houston was again defeated by Larry Bird and the 67-win Boston Celtics. The Rockets continued to reach the playoffs throughout the 1980s, but failed to advance past the first round for several years following a second-round defeat to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987. Rudy Tomjanovich took over as head coach midway through the 1991–92 season, ushering in the most successful period in franchise history. Led by Olajuwon, the Rockets dominated the 1993–94 season, setting a franchise record 58 wins and went to the 1994 NBA Finals—the third NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—and won the franchise's first championship against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. During the following season, reinforced by another All-Star, Clyde Drexler, the Rockets—in their fourth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—repeated as champions with a four-game sweep of the Orlando Magic, who were led by a young Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway. Houston, which finished the season with a 47–35 record and was seeded sixth in the Western Conference during the 1995 playoffs, became the lowest-seeded team in NBA history to win the title. The Rockets acquired all-star power forward Charles Barkley in 1996, but the presence of three of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all-time (Olajuwon, Drexler, and Barkley) was not enough to propel Houston past the Western Conference Finals. Each one of the aging trio had left the team by 2001. The Rockets of the early 2000s, led by superstars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, followed the trend of consistent regular-season respectability followed by playoff underachievement as both players struggled with injuries. After Yao's early retirement in 2011, the Rockets entered a period of rebuilding, completely dismantling and retooling their roster. The acquisition of franchise player James Harden in 2012 launched the Rockets back into perennial championship contention throughout the rest of the 2010s, with zero losing seasons in Harden's nine-season tenure with the team. Harden broke countless franchise and NBA records while on the team, winning three consecutive scoring titles between 2018 and 2020, and leading the team to two Western Conference Finals appearances (both times losing to the Golden State Warriors). Following the 2019–20 season, head coach Mike D'Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey left the organization. In January 2021, Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team deal. Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, and James Harden have been named the NBA's MVPs while playing for the Rockets, for a total of four MVP awards. The Rockets, when piloted by Morey, have been renowned for popularizing the use of advanced statistical analytics (similar to sabermetrics in baseball) in player acquisitions and style of play.

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