2. Boston Celtics – 37.9 W%, 55-90 record
Much like what happened with the Wizards and Bucks, it’s once again the San Diego Rockets that put the franchise in an early hole. Facing the Celtics for the first time in November 1967, the Rockets dropped their first 10 meetings with the established Celtics before finally winning two in a row in 1969.
The difference between this case and Milwaukee/Washington is that even after moving to Houston, the Rockets haven’t made up a whole lot of ground on Boston. After the move, Houston dropped 10 of its first 11 matchups with the Celtics, dropping their record to just 7-28 against them at the time.
Just as is the case with San Antonio, the Rockets have luckily had some success against the Celtics in recent years, winning the last five matchups in a row, including an overtime thriller on February 29th by a score of 111-110.
1. Los Angeles Lakers – 37.8 W%, 84-138 record
Another team, another rough early start that led to a huge series deficit. The Lakers had already been an established team for 19 seasons before they first faced the San Diego Rockets for the first time in 1967.
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Los Angeles would win 16 of its first 17 games against San Diego before the Rockets would begin to win a few. The Lakers had a 22-6 lead in the series when the Rockets moved to Houston, but the city switch didn’t change much in terms of the dynamic between the two teams.
Dating back to their first meeting, the Lakers had winning streaks of 15, nine, eight and a couple of seven-game winning streaks over the Rockets through the years.
It’s tough to build confidence against a certain opponent when you give up streaks like those.
While the overall series record will be lopsided for years to come, the good news is that the Rockets have picked it up against L.A. in recent years.
Since the 2013-14 season, the Rockets are 18-6 against the Lakers. This season, the two teams split the season series and were scheduled to meet at the Staples Center the day after the NBA was shut down.
The Rockets have been slowly reversing their misfortune against the Lakers. Let’s just hope they have the opportunity to continue to do so sooner than later.