June 25, 2024

The relationship between the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs has seen its share of ups and downs. Historically, they have been fierce in-state rivals, with memorable playoff matchups like the 1995 Western Conference Finals, where the Rockets triumphed on the way to their championship. Hakeem Olajuwon’s dominant performance in that series is still remembered.

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In more recent times, tensions have continued, with incidents like Spurs center Victor Wembanyama’s reaction during the 2023 lottery reveal, showing relief at not going to Houston. This drew criticism from Jabari Smith Jr. on social media. Spurs prospect Jeremy Sochan also stirred the pot with social media jabs at Dillon Brooks during the 2023 offseason.

Old interviews resurfaced, including one where Rockets’ Fred VanVleet made comments about Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during the Raptors’ 2019 championship parade. Austin Rivers, known for his frankness, shared his thoughts on the Spurs organization, suggesting it might not suit everyone, citing Demar DeRozan’s experience.

The rivalry intensified on the court as well, with the Rockets winning three out of four matchups against the Spurs last season. It’s evident that this inner-state rivalry is far from over.

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