Ranking the Houston Rockets' 6 Most-Despised Rivals This Season

Vinny Hardy@http://twitter.com/VinnyHardyCorrespondent INovember 25, 2012

Ranking the Houston Rockets' 6 Most-Despised Rivals This Season

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    A rivalry is defined as a competitive or antagonistic state. That's about right. Especially in the NBA. The Houston Rockets have a handful of rivals.

    Some are more hated than others. Some teams are permanent residents who have been on this list for many years. Others are new to the rivalry club and are doing a great job of making their presence felt.

    This list is fluid and subject to change, but as it stands right now, here it is.

    Let the slides begin.


6. Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Memphis Grizzlies are on the list because they are a division rival. They must be dealt with if the Houston Rockets are to make any headway in the Southwest Division.

    Like the Rockets, Memphis doesn't have any elite, upper echelon superstar players on its roster. The Grizzlies have a solid group of guys who play a tough, physical style of ball.

    They have a lot of qualities that teams can emulate, but hey that doesn't make them any less of a rival

5. Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Los Angeles Lakers have resided on most everyone's love-to-hate list for decades. They, along with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and Boston Celtics, are some of the more polarizing teams in sports. 

    If you're a fan of theirs, you love them; if not, you can't stand them.

    The Houston Rockets had the misfortune of playing them after they had started to get things turned around. They were no longer stumbling around under Mike Brown. My fellow Harlan County Kentuckian Bernie Bickerstaff had them playing good basketball as they handed Houston a 119-108 loss.

    Seeing that purple and gold just conjures up bad feelings, though, and always will.

4. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Two games and two losses against the Portland Trail Blazers ensured that they would have a spot on the list this season.

    Rookie guard Damian Lillard has lit up the Houston Rockets to the tune of 23.5 points per game.

    These are two losses that could come back and bite the Rockets when it's all said and done at the end of the season when it comes to just making or just missing the playoffs.

3. Dallas Mavericks

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    The Dallas Mavericks will always be on the list. A rivalry list isn't complete without in-state rivals on it.

    The Mavericks have had success more recently than the Houston Rockets have. They even swept the Los Angeles Lakers and ruined LeBron James' first season with the Miami Heat en route to their NBA title in 2011, which definitely changed my perception of them.

    For a short time anyway, their status as a rival is strong once again.

2. San Antonio Spurs

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    The San Antonio Spurs are here because of the in-state factor as well. Their success speaks for itself.

    They have been so consistently consistent that it just makes you want to pull your hair out at times. Yes, sure you have to respect them and give them credit for all they've accomplished.

    But as a rival of theirs, it doesn't mean you have to like it.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves? Yes, and they should be No. 1 with a bullet. This should be a grudge that isn't easily let go.

    The Timberwolves kicked the Houston Rockets in the face literally and figuratively last season. No more words are needed for Kevin Love's act.

    Rick Adelman proved Bum Phillips right. Adelman went to Minnesota and took their'n and beat his'n, as Minnesota beat Houston three out of the four times they played last season.

    Houston finished 34-32 and missed the playoffs by two games. A couple of different outcomes against the Timberwolves (and Utah Jazz) would've made all of the difference.