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Hakeem Olajuwon on the Bulls winning 8 titles in a row if MJ never retired: "It seems like everybody forgot the big steal against Michael Jordan by Nick Anderson"

The Dream pointed out that the Bulls did not even make it to the Finals in 1995 with MJ back.

The Houston Rockets' championship runs in 1994 and 1995 stand as dividers for the Chicago Bulls' two three-peats. Because of that, fans and experts have debated whether the Bulls would have won 8 in a row if Michael Jordan never retired to play baseball.

Several former Rockets players like Kenny Smith, Vernon Maxwell, and Robert Horry have said their piece on why they think the Rockets would have won their titles even if MJ played. The opinion that many wanted to hear was the one from Hakeem Olajuwon, the main reason why the Rockets won back-to-back rings.

In an interview with SportsTalk 790, Olajuwon said:

"In 1995, Jordan was back. The great Orlando team beat them in Game 6. It seems like everybody forgot the big steal against Michael Jordan… by Nick Anderson. It cost Chicago the series. You don't make excuses for a champion, to discredit anything. We didn't play Chicago in the Finals, but that doesn't discredit our accomplishments as a champion. That was the only six-seed in NBA history to have ever won!"

Was MJ rusty when the Bulls lost to the Magic in '95?

While Jordan was back in 1995, he returned late during the regular season. Bulls fans argue that Jordan was "rusty" during the 1995 playoffs, which is why Chicago lost to Orlando.

However, if you take a look at his postseason stats, Jordan actually played better in the 1995 playoffs than he did the following year when the Bulls won their 4th title.

Jordan averaged 30.7 points on .459 shooting while also averaging 4.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.8 steals per game during the 1996 playoffs. During the 1995 postseason, MJ averaged 31.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.3 steals per game while also shooting .484 from the floor. By just looking at the numbers, it doesn't look like MJ was rusty at all.

Rockets historic road to the Finals

Many will also remember that in Game 1 of the Magic vs Bulls series, Chicago was up by one point 89-88 with 58 seconds left in the game and with possession of the ball. However, as MJ was bringing the basketball up the court, Anderson stripped the ball from him, leading to a Horace Grant fastbreak dunk off a Penny Hardaway assist. Orlando would go on to win 94-91, which set the tone for the series.

In Game 6, Chicago had a 102-94 lead with three minutes left to play in the game. The Bulls, however, went scoreless the rest of the way while the Magic went on to put up the final 14 points of the game to win 108-102 and eliminate Jordan and the Bulls.

Meanwhile, the Rockets were only the 6th seed in the Western Conference that year. Houston took down No. 3 Utah in Round 1, then the No. 2 Phoenix in Round 2, and finally the West's top-seeded Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. They then proceeded to sweep the East top seed Magic in the 1995 NBA Finals and win back-to-back titles. 

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