The Spurs used last year to show us how motivating a bitter defeat may be; they plowed through the league to win their fifth ring, avenging the devastating loss to the Heat at 2013.
On a smaller scale, possibly that exact same narrative will perform for the Houston Rockets, who bowed out of the postseason against a Blazers club couple expected would offer immunity.
The Rockets will hope to do more this year. They’ll have less to use than they did a year ago. Omer Asik and jeremy Lin are elsewhere, thinning a spinning which didn’t have a lot of thickness. And, of course, his own Texas address has been changed by Parsons.
James Harden and Dwight Howard stay, and they will be tested more rigorously than ever before.
If Trevor Ariza avoids the post-contract letdown so many expect and if Terrence Jones takes yet another step forward, Houston could be more dangerous than it was a year ago.
But when measured against Dallas and Golden State, whose title chances are exactly the like Houston’s–and whose rosters improved after more remarkable playoff runs last season –the Rockets seem like the group likely to deliver on those 20-1 odds.
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