1980–81 Houston Rockets season

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1980–81 Houston Rockets season
Conference champions
Head coachDel Harris
ArenaThe Summit
Results
Record40–42 (.488)
PlaceDivision: 2nd (Midwest)
Conference: 5th (Western)
Playoff finishNBA Finals
(Lost to Celtics 2–4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
TelevisionKHTV
RadioKTRH
< 1979–80 1981–82 >

The 1980–81 Houston Rockets season saw the Rockets lose the NBA Finals. The 1981 Rockets are the only team since the 1959 Minneapolis Lakers to make the NBA Finals with a losing record.

In the playoffs, the Rockets defeated the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in three games in the First Round, then defeated the San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the Semifinals, and the Kansas City Kings in five games in the Conference Finals, reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, only to fall to the Boston Celtics in six games in the NBA Finals.

Draft picks[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
2 27 John Stroud  United States Mississippi

[1]

Roster[edit]

Houston Rockets roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
G 10 Dunleavy, Mike 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 180 lb (82 kg) South Carolina
F 00 Garrett, Calvin 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Oral Roberts
G 6 Henderson, Tom 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Hawaiʻi
G 30 Leavell, Allen 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Oklahoma City
C 24 Malone, Moses 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Petersburg High School
G 23 Murphy, Calvin 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 165 lb (75 kg) Niagara
C 5 Paultz, Billy 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 235 lb (107 kg) St. John's
F 50 Reid, Robert 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Saint Mary's
F 45 Tomjanovich, Rudy 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 218 lb (99 kg) Michigan
F 32 Willoughby, Bill 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Dwight Morrow H.S.
Head coach

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Regular season[edit]

In the 1980–81 season, after the newly established Dallas Mavericks became the third NBA team in Texas,[2] the NBA restructured the conferences and sent the Rockets, who had previously played in the Eastern Conference, to the Midwest Division of the Western Conference. In Harris's second season, Houston tied with Kansas City for second place in the Midwest Division behind San Antonio with a 40-42 record, and qualified for the playoffs with just one game left.[3] During the season, Murphy set two NBA records, by sinking 78 consecutive free throws to break Rick Barry's mark of 60 set in 1976, and achieving a free-throw percentage of .958, breaking Barry's record set with the Rockets in 1979.[4]

Season standings[edit]

Midwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-San Antonio Spurs 52 30 .634 34–7 18–23 21–9
x-Kansas City Kings 40 42 .488 12.0 24–17 16–25 19–11
x-Houston Rockets 40 42 .488 12.0 25–16 15–26 19–11
Denver Nuggets 37 45 .451 15.0 23–18 14–27 13–17
Utah Jazz 28 54 .341 24.0 20–21 8–33 13–17
Dallas Mavericks 15 67 .183 37.0 11–30 4–37 5–25
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Phoenix Suns 57 25 .695
2 y-San Antonio Spurs 52 30 .634 5
3 x-Los Angeles Lakers 54 28 .659 3
4 x-Portland Trail Blazers 45 37 .549 12
5 x-Kansas City Kings 40 42 .488 17
6 x-Houston Rockets 40 42 .488 17
7 Golden State Warriors 39 43 .476 18
8 Denver Nuggets 37 45 .451 20
9 San Diego Clippers 36 46 .439 21
10 Seattle SuperSonics 34 48 .415 23
11 Utah Jazz 28 54 .341 29
12 Dallas Mavericks 15 67 .183 42


Notes

  • z, y – division champions
  • x – clinched playoff spot

Record vs. opponents[edit]

1980-81 NBA Records
Team ATL BOS CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND KCK LAL MIL NJN NYK PHI PHO POR SAS SDC SEA UTA WAS
Atlanta 2–4 2–4 1–5 2–0 1–1 4–2 2–0 1–1 1–5 1–1 0–2 1–5 3–2 2–4 1–5 0–2 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 2–0 1–4
Boston 4–2 5–1 4–1 2–0 2–0 4–1 1–1 2–0 3–3 1–1 2–0 3–3 6–0 5–1 3–3 2–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 1–1 1–1 5–1
Chicago 4–2 1–5 5–1 1–1 1–1 5–1 1–1 1–1 3–2 2–0 1–1 3–3 3–2 3–3 2–4 0–2 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–1 2–0 5–1
Cleveland 5–1 1–4 1–5 2–0 1–1 3–3 1–1 0–2 2–4 0–2 0–2 0–6 3–3 0–5 0–6 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–1 4–2
Dallas 0–2 0–2 1–1 0–2 3–3 0–2 2–3 0–6 0–2 0–6 0–5 0–2 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–4 1–4 1–5 2–3 1–4 1–5 0–2
Denver 1–1 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–3 2–0 3–2 2–4 1–1 4–2 3–2 1–1 1–1 0–2 1–1 1–4 2–3 2–4 3–2 3–2 2–4 0–2
Detroit 2–4 1–4 1–5 3–3 2–0 0–2 0–2 1–1 2–4 1–1 0–2 1–5 3–3 1–5 1–4 0–2 0–2 0–2 1–1 0–2 0–2 1–5
Golden State 0–2 1–1 1–1 1–1 3–2 2–3 2–0 3–2 1–1 5–0 1–5 1–1 1–1 2–0 0–2 2–4 2–4 1–4 2–4 3–3 4–1 1–1
Houston 1–1 0–2 1–1 2–0 6–0 4–2 1–1 2–3 1–1 2–4 2–3 0–2 2–0 0–2 0–2 1–4 3–2 3–3 1–4 4–1 4–2 0–2
Indiana 5–1 3–3 2–3 4–2 2–0 1–1 4–2 1–1 1–1 2–0 0–2 2–4 5–1 3–2 0–6 1–1 0–2 2–0 1–1 0–2 1–1 4–2
Kansas City 1–1 1–1 0–2 2–0 6–0 2–4 1–1 0–5 4–2 0–2 0–5 1–1 2–0 1–1 0–2 3–2 3–2 2–4 3–2 2–3 5–1 1–1
Los Angeles 2–0 0–2 1–1 2–0 5–0 2–3 2–0 5–1 3–2 2–0 5–0 0–2 2–0 2–0 1–1 2–4 3–3 2–3 3–3 6–0 3–2 1–1
Milwaukee 5–1 3–3 3–3 6–0 2–0 1–1 5–1 1–1 2–0 4–2 1–1 2–0 5–1 3–3 3–2 1–1 2–0 1–1 2–0 2–0 2–0 4–1
New Jersey 2–3 0–6 2–3 3–3 1–1 1–1 3–3 1–1 0–2 1–5 0–2 0–2 1–5 0–6 1–5 1–1 2–0 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–3
New York 4–2 1–5 3–3 5–0 1–1 2–0 5–1 0–2 2–0 2–3 1–1 0–2 3–3 6–0 3–3 1–1 1–1 0–2 2–0 2–0 2–0 4–2
Philadelphia 5–1 3–3 4–2 6–0 2–0 1–1 4–1 2–0 2–0 6–0 2–0 1–1 2–3 5–1 3–3 1–1 1–1 2–0 2–0 2–0 2–0 4–2
Phoenix 2–0 0–2 2–0 1–1 4–1 4–1 2–0 4–2 4–1 1–1 2–3 4–2 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 3–3 3–2 6–0 5–1 5–0 1–1
Portland 1–1 0–2 2–0 1–1 4–1 3–2 2–0 4–2 2–3 2–0 2–3 3–3 0–2 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–3 2–3 4–2 4–2 2–3 2–0
San Antonio 1–1 0–2 2–0 1–1 5–1 4–2 2–0 4–1 3–3 0–2 4–2 3–2 1–1 2–0 2–0 0–2 2–3 3–2 4–1 3–2 5–1 1–1
San Diego 1–1 0–2 1–1 1–1 3–2 2–3 1–1 4–2 4–1 1–1 2–3 3–3 0–2 2–0 0–2 0–2 0–6 2–4 1–4 5–1 3–2 0–2
Seattle 1–1 1–1 1–1 2–0 4–1 2–3 2–0 3–3 1–4 2–0 3–2 0–6 0–2 1–1 0–2 0–2 1–5 2–4 2–3 1–5 4–1 1–1
Utah 0–2 1–1 0–2 1–1 5–1 4–2 2–0 1–4 2–4 1–1 1–5 2–3 0–2 1–1 0–2 0–2 0–5 3–2 1–5 2–3 1–4 0–2
Washington 4–1 1–5 1–5 2–4 2–0 2–0 5–1 1–1 2–0 2–4 1–1 1–1 1–4 3–3 2–4 2–4 1–1 0–2 1–1 2–0 1–1 2–0

Game log[edit]

Playoffs[edit]

West First Round[edit]

(3) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 2-1

  • Game 1 @ Los Angeles: Houston 111, Los Angeles 107
  • Game 2 @ Houston: Los Angeles 111, Houston 106
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Houston 89, Los Angeles 86

Last playoff meeting: This the first playoff meeting between the Lakers and the Rockets

West Conference Semifinals[edit]

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ San Antonio: Houston 107, San Antonio 98
  • Game 2 @ San Antonio: San Antonio 125, Houston 113
  • Game 3 @ Houston: Houston 112, San Antonio 99
  • Game 4 @ Houston: San Antonio 114, Houston 112
  • Game 5 @ San Antonio: Houston 123, San Antonio 117
  • Game 6 @ Houston: San Antonio 101, Houston 96
  • Game 7 @ San Antonio: Houston 105, San Antonio 100

Last playoff meeting: 1980 Eastern conference first round (Houston won 2-1)

West Conference Finals[edit]

(5) Kansas City Kings vs. (6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ Kansas City: Houston 97, Kansas City 78
  • Game 2 @ Kansas City: Kansas City 88, Houston 79
  • Game 3 @ Houston: Houston 92, Kansas City 88
  • Game 4 @ Houston: Houston 100, Kansas City 89
  • Game 5 @ Kansas City: Houston 97, Kansas City 88

Last playoff meeting: This is the first meeting between the Kings and the Rockets

NBA Finals[edit]

Game Date Home Team Away Team Score
1 May 5 Boston Celtics Houston Rockets 98–95
2 May 7 Boston Celtics Houston Rockets 90–92
3 May 9 Houston Rockets Boston Celtics 71–94
4 May 10 Houston Rockets Boston Celtics 91–86
5 May 12 Boston Celtics Houston Rockets 109–80
6 May 14 Houston Rockets Boston Celtics 91–102
  • Boston Celtics win series in 6 games (4–2)

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game

Season[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Moses Malone 80 40.6 .522 .333 .757 14.8 1.8 1.0 1.9 27.8
Calvin Murphy 76 26.5 .492 .235 .958 1.1 2.9 1.5 0.1 16.7
Robert Reid 82 36.1 .482 .000 .756 7.1 4.2 2.0 0.8 15.9
Rudy Tomjanovich 52 24.3 .467 .235 .793 4.0 1.6 0.4 0.1 11.6
Mike Dunleavy 74 21.7 .491 .063 .839 1.6 3.6 0.9 0.0 10.5
Allen Leavell 79 21.3 .471 .118 .832 1.7 4.9 1.2 0.2 8.1
Billy Paultz 81 20.5 .507 .000 .490 4.8 1.3 0.3 0.9 7.4
Bill Willoughby 55 20.8 .523 .766 4.1 1.2 0.3 0.6 6.3
Calvin Garrett 70 23.4 .453 .333 .806 3.8 1.9 0.7 0.1 6.1
Tom Henderson 66 21.4 .413 .000 .821 1.6 4.7 0.8 0.1 5.3

[5]

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG

Awards and records[edit]

Awards[edit]

Records[edit]

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

Free agents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  2. ^ "Mavs History". NBA.com. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  3. ^ "1980-81 Houston Rockets". Basketball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  4. ^ "NBA.com Calvin Murphy Bio". NBA. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  5. ^ https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/HOU/1981.html