On Tuesday night, the Houston Astros will visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 1 of the World Series (8 p.m. ET, FOX).
To set the stage, here are the greatest moments ever in the history of Los Angeles vs. Houston, America's second and fourth-biggest cities.
1. Ralph Sampson sends Houston to the Finals: May 21, 1986
The Showtime Lakers and the Rockets' Twin Towers met in the 1986 Western Conference Finals, with Houston looking to spring a big upset over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy behind Sampson and a young Hakeem Olajuwon. Houston did exactly that, running up a 3-1 series lead before Sampson eliminated the Lakers with an incredible tip on an inbounds play as time expired in Game 5.
2. The Game of the Century: January 20, 1968
UCLA eliminated Houston in the 1967 Final Four on the way to John Wooden's third NCAA title. The next January, they teamed up for a trailblazing showcase for college basketball. Before this game, only postseason games were broadcast nationally, but the two undefeated teams were No. 1 and No. 2 in the polls and met at the Astrodome in front of 52,693 fans. Houston scraped together a 71-69 win, ending the Bruins' 47-game winning streak. It was a huge success and the $125,000 paycheck for both schools helped, too. It was nearly four times what schools received for NCAA Tournament games and encouraged more programs to seek out deals to broadcast their games nationally. The game even landed both teams on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Neither team lost again until the Final Four, where UCLA turned the table on Houston, winning by 32 points on the way to a fourth title.
3. Kobe's Lakers defeat Yao's Rockets: May 4-17, 2009
Kobe Bryant hadn't won a title since a three-peat alongside Shaquille O'Neal in 2002. Bryant won MVP honors and the Lakers won the West by 11 games, but No. 5 seed Houston ended up giving the eventual champs their toughest test, with stars like Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady leading the way. The Rockets stole Game 1 in Los Angeles, where the Lakers were 39-5 that season. The Rockets grabbed Game 6 in Houston to even the series, but the Lakers won Game 7, 89-70, behind 21 points and 18 rebounds from Pau Gasol. No other team lasted more than six games against the Lakers in that postseason.
4. Dodgers eliminate Astros in NLDS, Oct. 6-11, 1981
The MLB's midseason strike in '81 meant the division champion from the first half of the season met the division champion from the second half of the season. In the National League, the Astros and Dodgers faced off, with Nolan Ryan outdueling Cy Young winner Fernando Valenzuela in Game 1; the Astros then won Game 2, 1-0, in 11 innings.
Back in Los Angeles, the series turned. LA swept all three games and eliminated the Astros with a 4-0 win, despite Houston throwing Nolan Ryan out for a second start. Jerry Ruess threw a five-hit shutout to send the Dodgers into the NLCS, and the Astros scored just two combined runs in the three games on the West Coast.
5. Oilers beat Chargers to become first AFL champion ever: Jan 1, 1961
Back in 1960, the AFL debuted opposite the 40-year-old NFL before merging into a single league nine years later. The Oilers beat the Los Angeles Chargers 24-16 in front of 32,183 fans at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston. Quarterback George Blanda threw a touchdown pass and kicked a field goal, and Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon scored on an 88-yard run.
6. Galaxy win a third MLS title, deny Dynamo their third: Nov. 20, 2011
The Dynamo won consecutive titles in 2006 and 2007, but the two franchises met for the MLS Cup in 2011, the Galaxy's seventh Cup final. Landon Donovan scored the game-winner in the 72nd minute to give Los Angeles a 1-0 victory. The Galaxy had won the West and rolled through the playoffs with a pair of 3-1 wins. The Dynamo finished second in the East and won both playoff series by two goals, but couldn't get past the Galaxy.