The Spurs used last year to show us how motivating a bitter defeat could be; they plowed through the group to win their fifth ring, avenging the catastrophic loss to the Heat at 2013.
On a smaller scale, possibly that exact same storyline will perform for the Houston Rockets, who bowed out of the postseason against a Blazers club few anticipated would offer resistance.
The Rockets will expect to do more this year. They’ll have less to work with than they did a year ago. Omer Asik and jeremy Lin are elsewhere, thinning a rotation that didn’t have much thickness. And, of course, Parsons has shifted his own Texas address.
James Harden and Dwight Howard stay, and they’ll 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 ahead, Houston might be more harmful than it had been a year ago.
But when measured against Dallas and Golden State, whose title chances are the like Houston’s–and whose rosters improved after decidedly more impressive playoff runs last year–the Rockets look like the team least likely to deliver on those 20-1 odds.
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