No. 4: 2018-19 Houston Rockets
After suffering a heartbreaking loss in the Western Conference Finals the previous season, the Rockets were in shock about how close they were to winning it all. Due to this, the Rockets started off the 2018-19 season shaky.
The Rockets lost Trevor Ariza in the offseason but were able to replace him with veteran wing, Carmelo Anthony. The Rockets then had a core of superstars in James Harden and Chris Paul, along with a great supporting cast of Carmelo Anthony, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker.
The signing of Carmelo seemed great, but his time with Houston didn’t last long. The Rockets quickly concluded that he wasn’t able to fulfill the role they wanted him to play and wasn’t a fit in the system, thus resulting in his release early in the year.
Later in the season, Carmelo was replaced with multiple wings, the standout being Danuel House, who was a key 3-and-D player for Houston throughout the year.
The Rockets started the season very sloppy and weren’t able to play at the level they played at in the previous season. They were also hit with many injuries as Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and Clint Capela all got hurt and missed games throughout the season.
The Rockets, however, were saved by James Harden due to the superhuman level he was playing at, averaging a whopping 36.1 points per game throughout the season. The Rockets finished the year as the fourth seed, winning 53 games and losing 29.
The Rockets would then go on the steamroll past the Utah Jazz in the first round only to run into their biggest rival, the Golden State Warriors, in the second. The Rockets had their chances in the series.
Kevin Durant went down in Game 5 with a leg injury, yet the Rockets still ended up losing that game. In Game 6, the Rockets held Stephen Curry to 0 points in the first half, but allowed him to score 33 points in the last two quarters of the game and ended up losing 118-113, ending their season.
No. 3: 2014-15 Houston Rockets
After another year of improvement the previous season, the Rockets came into the year with high expectations. The roster stayed almost the same as the previous season as they went into the year with a core of James Harden and Dwight Howard. They did, however, lose Chandler Parsons in the offseason, but were able to replace him with Trevor Ariza.
The Rockets ended the season with 56 wins and 26 losses and were the second seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets then went on to get through the first round with ease, beating the Dallas Mavericks in five games.
The Rockets were then matched up with the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round. The series went to seven games, and the Rockets were able to get past the Clippers in dramatic fashion with Game 6 being the highlight of the series. The Rockets made a miraculous comeback led by Josh Smith and Corey Brewer in Game 6, with James Harden being put on the bench.
The Rockets then faced the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals and were dominated by them. Houston’s defense was not able to keep up with the high-paced Warriors offense, thus causing them to lose in five games.