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Tuesday November 8, 2011 10:30 AM

Clutch City Classics

Rockets and FSHouston unveil new series re-living classic games in Rockets history

Jason Friedman

HOUSTON - Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that life is a journey, not a destination.

Forget for a moment the issue of whether or not the famed American 19th century poetry was one hundred percent accurate in his assessment. Regardless of where you stand on the matter, we can all probably agree that, no matter where we’re headed, we’d be wise to take ample time to appreciate and savor all the little mile-markers that appear on the path toward our desired destination.

To that end, I can think of no better Houston sports example than the memorable road traveled by the 1995 Houston Rockets. Yes, the end result was exhilarating and euphoric. But perhaps the purest form of pleasure could be found in the countless hair-raising, mind-bending, feet-stomping moments that ultimately brought the team to its second straight championship: Game 5 against Utah; Hakeem Olajuwon’s “bamboozling” of David Robinson in the Western Conference Finals; Clyde; Kenny; Sam; Big Shot Rob; And, yes, Mario Elie’s kiss of death, a shot so sweet it ranks with any other in Rockets history and also serves as a perfect launching point for the club’s new “Clutch City Classics” series airing on FSHouston.

Beginning this Wednesday at 9 PM CST, fans will have the opportunity to re-live the best, most memorable games in Rockets history; a series that starts with a re-airing of the aforementioned Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between Houston and Phoenix. Bear in mind, however, that this is no typical re-airing; it will also feature all-new, additional in-game commentary from Rockets broadcasters Bill Worrell and Matt Bullard, as well as from the man himself, Mario Elie, as they recall and reflect upon their favorite memories from that classic contest.

What’s more, fans are invited to an early screening of the series premiere taking place at the Stadia Sports Grill in Katy (20900 Katy Freeway, Suite 16, 77449) where Elie, Bullard, Rockets radio play-by-play man Craig Ackerman, Clutch the Rockets Bear and Rockets Power Dancers will be on hand to mingle with fans and provide additional insight before and during the airing. The event is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 PM with the sneak preview screening set to air at 7 PM.

It’s all part of the team’s effort to kick off a series that not only aims to serve as a spectacular stroll down memory lane, but one that also represents a reminder of just how epic the journey has been during the franchise’s first 45 years of existence.

“We are excited to offer our fans the opportunity to relive some of our defining franchise moments,” said Rockets Chief Executive Officer Tad Brown. “Mr. Alexander has built a storied franchise that has provided a host of memorable championship moments. ‘Clutch City Classics’ will offer our fans the opportunity to experience those thrilling franchise achievements while listening to our former players recount their fond memories of the games.”
Future November episodes will include: Hakeem Olajuwon’s sterling performance against league MVP David Robinson in Game 1 of the 1995 Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs (5/22/95); Olajuwon’s leaping, last-second block of a John Starks’ shot to ensure a win and force a deciding Game 7 in the 1994 NBA Finals versus the New York Knicks (6/19/94); and the historic 1994 Game 7 win over the Knicks that delivered Houston its first major sports championship (6/22/94).
The broadcast schedule through the month of November is as follows:
Wed., 9 PM, 11/09/11: Game 7, 1995 Western Conference Semifinals—Elie’s “kiss of death”

Wed., 9 PM, 11/16/11: Game 1, 1995 Western Conference Finals—Olajuwon leads the way with 27 points and lock-down defense on league MVP David Robinson.

Wed., 9 PM, 11/23/11: Game 6, 1994 NBA Finals—Olajuwon’s last-second block of John Starks shot to force a Game 7.

Wed., 9 PM, 11/30/11: Game 7, 1994 NBA Finals—The Rockets deliver Houston’s first-ever championship

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