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Mike D’Antoni suggests championship or bust season for Rockets

Mike D'Antoni

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni says the team won’t be satisfied with anything less than a championship this season.

The Rockets had the best regular season in franchise history last year, finishing with the top record in the NBA at 65-17. The team advanced to the Western Conference Finals and took on the mighty Golden State Warriors. They even had a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6, but Chris Paul missed Games 6 and 7 with a hamstring injury and the Rockets weren’t able to close out the series without its All-Star floor general.

That experience left a bad taste in the mouths of the Rockets and they are eager to make amends for what transpired.

There’s been some roster turnover in Houston. The Rockets lost two of its best defenders from last season, Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, in free agency. Houston had a top-10 defense in 2017-18, so those are two key losses. The Rockets, though, made some valuable additions after losing Ariza and Mbah a Moute. Along with Carmelo Anthony, Houston signed James Ennis and Michael Carter-Williams.

Anthony is coming off the worst statistical season of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The veteran scorer averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game and shot only 40.4 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. The hope in Houston is that Anthony will be more effective and efficient playing alongside Paul and reigning MVP James Harden, two prolific playmakers.

Ennis and Carter-Williams aren’t flashy players, but they should be valuable rotational pieces. The Rockets got together in the Bahamas during the first week of September for about a week to bond and play basketball before training camp began. The team needs all the chemistry it can get if they want to dethrone the Warriors.