8. Oklahoma City Thunder – 48.9 W%, 109-114 record
While the OKC Thunder have been a pain in the Rockets’ side in recent years, they did most of their damage in the 1990s when they were the Seattle SuperSonics. From 1991-96, the Sonics won 16 of 20 head-to-head matchups with Houston, including back-to-back series sweeps from 1994-96.
Their fullcourt press featuring elite defenders Gary Payton and Nate McMillan was a major problem in that era, and the Rockets have yet to fully recover when it comes to the all-time head-to-head record with the franchise.
Since the SuperSonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, the two teams have played each other evenly, with the Rockets having a 22-21 edge in the series.
In the last five years, the Thunder hold a 10-7 advantage after winning two of three this season and three of four last season. The Rockets weren’t scheduled to face OKC a fourth time this season.
If the Rockets can string together a few wins in a row against the pesky Thunder, they can even the series or pull ahead by 2022.
7. Detroit Pistons – 48.2 W/L%, 68-73 record
Another close all-time series, the Detroit Pistons have won six of their last nine matchups with the Houston Rockets, including a 115-107 victory at the Toyota Center last December. Before that, the two teams split the previous three seasons.
Since their first matchup in 1967 when the Rockets were in San Diego, both franchises have been fairly close when it comes to their head-to-head record. The biggest advantage either side has had in the series is an 11-game lead, which Detroit had on several occasions, most recently after the 2007 season.
The Rockets have never led the season series with Detroit but were close after the 2013-14 season when they cut the series to 66-64.
Next: No. 6 & 5