1994–95 NBA season

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1994–95 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Duration November 4, 1994 – April 23, 1995
April 27 – June 4, 1995 (Playoffs)
June 7 – 14, 1995 (Finals)
Number of teams 27
TV partner(s) NBC, TBS, TNT
Draft
Top draft pick Glenn Robinson
Picked by Milwaukee Bucks
Regular season
Top seed San Antonio Spurs
Season MVP David Robinson (San Antonio)
Top scorer Shaquille O'Neal (Orlando)
Playoffs
Eastern champions Orlando Magic
  Eastern runners-up Indiana Pacers
Western champions Houston Rockets
  Western runners-up San Antonio Spurs
Finals
Champions Houston Rockets
  Runners-up Orlando Magic
Finals MVP Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston)
NBA seasons

The 1994–95 NBA season was the 49th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Houston Rockets defeating the Orlando Magic 4 games to 0 in the NBA Finals to be crowned champions.

Notable occurrences[edit]

Coaching changes
Offseason
Team 1993-94 coach 1994-95 coach
Dallas Mavericks Quinn Buckner Dick Motta
Los Angeles Clippers Bob Weiss Bill Fitch
Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson Del Harris
Minnesota Timberwolves Sidney Lowe Bill Blair
New Jersey Nets Chuck Daly Butch Beard
Philadelphia 76ers Fred Carter John Lucas
Portland Trail Blazers Rick Adelman P.J. Carlesimo
San Antonio Spurs John Lucas Bob Hill
Washington Bullets Wes Unseld Jim Lynam
In-season
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Denver Nuggets Dan Issel Gene Littles
Gene Littles Bernie Bickerstaff
Golden State Warriors Don Nelson Bob Lanier
Miami Heat Kevin Loughery Alvin Gentry
  • The Houston Rockets became the lowest seeded team to ever win the NBA Finals, winning as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets also became the first team to defeat four opponents who had 50 or more wins en route to a title (Utah, Phoenix, San Antonio and Orlando); the only other team ever to accomplish that feat was the 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers.
  • The 1995 NBA All-Star Game was played at America West Arena (now known as US Airways Center) in Phoenix, Arizona, with the West defeating the East 139–112. Mitch Richmond of the Sacramento Kings was named the game's MVP (Most Valuable Player).
  • Midway through the season, Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls after a failed attempt at a minor-league baseball career. His announcement consisted of a two-word fax: "I'm Back". Since the Bulls had already retired his number 23, he returned wearing number 45. However, he changed back to 23 during the playoffs.
  • An era came to an end as the Boston Celtics played their final season at the historic Boston Garden.
  • The Portland Trail Blazers played their final season at Memorial Coliseum (renamed as the Veterans Memorial Coliseum as of 2012). They would host a preseason game at the Coliseum in 2009.
  • The Chicago Bulls played their first game at the United Center.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers played their first game at Gund Arena (now known as Quicken Loans Arena).
  • Due to extensive renovations to the Seattle Center Coliseum (renamed as KeyArena following the season), the Seattle SuperSonics played their home games at the Tacoma Dome, in nearby Tacoma, Washington.
  • Grant Hill became the first rookie in professional sports to lead fan balloting for the NBA All-Star Game.
  • The Orlando Magic became the first of the four late-1980s expansion franchises to reach the NBA Finals. They were swept in four straight games by the defending-champion Houston Rockets.
  • Lenny Wilkens passed Red Auerbach to become the NBA's all-time leader in wins, which stood for 15 years.
  • Moses Malone, the only remaining active former ABA player, announced his retirement after 19 NBA seasons. Malone, who came to the professional level without any college basketball experience, retired just in time for a new generation of prep-to-pro stars like Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant to arrive on the scene.
  • In an effort to increase scoring, the NBA's competition committee voted to shorten the three-point field goal line to a uniform 22 feet around the basket beginning this season and lasting through the 1996-97 NBA season.[1] Orlando Magic forward Dennis Scott set a then-single season record for most three-pointers made with 267 during the 1995-96 NBA season (Later surpassed by Ray Allen, who notched 269 three-pointers in the 2005–06 NBA season).[2] The NBA would revert to its original three-point field goal parameters of 23 feet, 9 inches (22 feet at the corners) at the start of the 1997-98 NBA season.[3]
  • The Western Conference Finals series between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets was notable for the lack of home team success. The home team lost each of the first 5 games of the series, with the Rockets finally breaking through with a home win in Game 6.
  • The Miami Heat made two blockbuster trades. The first one was 2 days before the season when Miami traded Rony Seikaly to the Golden State Warriors for Billy Owens and Sasha Danilovic. Then, 2 games into the season after a game against the Phoenix Suns, Miami traded Grant Long, Steve Smith and a 1996 1st round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for Kevin Willis and a 1996 1st round pick. The latter trade was so one-sided (Miami missed the playoffs altogether while Atlanta became a contender in the East) that it was credited with spurring the Heat to make their biggest decision in franchise history: hiring Pat Riley to be their coach and top executive.

Standings[edit]