The Spurs used last year to show us how motivating a bitter defeat may be; they plowed throughout the group to win their fifth ring, avenging the devastating loss to the Heat in 2013.
On a smaller scale, perhaps that same narrative will play out to the Houston Rockets, who bowed out of the postseason from a Blazers club couple expected would offer immunity.
The Rockets will hope to do more this year. Unfortunately, they’ll have less to use than they did. Omer Asik and jeremy Lin are everywhere, thinning a rotation that didn’t have much depth to shed. And, of course, Parsons has changed his Texas address.
Dwight Howard and james Harden remain, and they will be tested more rigorously than ever before.
If Trevor Ariza averts the post-contract letdown so many expect and when Terrence Jones takes another step forward, Houston might be more dangerous than it had been a year ago.
However, when measured against Dallas and Golden State, whose title chances are exactly the same as Houston’s—and whose rosters enhanced after decidedly more remarkable playoff runs last year—the Rockets seem like the team likely to deliver those 20-1 odds.

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