Mario Elie’s “kiss of death” three-point field goal lifted the Houston Rockets to a 115-114 road victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of their second-round matchup.
The Rockets had trailed the series 3-1 but won 103-97 in overtime on the road in Game 5. Hakeem Olajuwon had 31 points and 16 rebounds. Houston then won at home 118-103 in Game 6. Olajuwon scored 30 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Charles Barkley had 34 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns in the loss. The game set up a win or go home showdown in Phoenix.
Both teams got stellar performances from their star players in Game 7. Olajuwon posted 29 points and 11 rebounds, while Clyde Drexler finished with 29 points and eight rebounds.
For Phoenix, Kevin Johnson was unstoppable, finishing with 46 points and 10 assists. Charles Barkley had 18 points and 23 rebounds.
Despite the great play of the stars, a role player would hit the biggest shot of the game. With the game tied at 112, Ellie hit a three from the corner with 7.1 seconds remaining.
The Rockets then fouled Danny Ainge, who hit the first free throw, then tried to miss the second but accidentally made it.
The Rockets advanced the ball but turned over the ensuing inbound pass. Ainge heaved a desperation shot but missed, sending the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals.
The Rockets then defeated the San Antonio Spurs in six games and swept the Orlando Magic to win their second consecutive championship.