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HOUSTON - Last off-season, the Houston Rockets were an afterthought, a young team with little star power. Now, after trading for James Harden just before this past season and adding Dwight Howard on Friday, Houston is suddenly primed to contend sooner than almost anybody expected. Still, Houston general manager Daryl Morey knows nabbing Howard is only the first step in a long process for his team. "We havent accomplished anything yet, but were putting something pretty cool together, I think," Morey said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet Houston. Howard is the Rockets latest superstar centre, following Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and eight-time All-Star Yao Ming. They reached the playoffs for the first time since 2009 this season and battled back from a 3-0 deficit before being eliminated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6. Their return to the post-season showed they have plenty of speed and long-range scoring power with Harden, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons. Omer Asik was a solid rebounder in the playoff run and averaged 12.3 points in the series, but it was clear that the team needed a more potent scoring threat inside. The addition of Howard gives them just that, as the 6-foot-11 star has averaged more than 18 points and almost 13 rebounds in his nine-year career. His one season in Los Angeles was filled with unrest, including what many believed to be a less than positive relationship with Kobe Bryant. Bryant unfollowed Howard on Twitter on Friday night after he announced his decision to join the Rockets with a tweet. It was the end of a short tenure with the Lakers in which Howard averaged 17 points and almost 11 rebounds in the playoffs, where the injury-riddled team was swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Morey believes his team offers many benefits to the 27-year-old centre, but one thing sealed the deal. "I think Dwights in a great place in his career," Morey said in the television interview. "Hes focused on winning and we gave him the best chance to win. Its that simple." Howard cant officially sign until July 10 when next seasons salary cap has been set. The Rockets can pay him $88 million over a four-year contract — $30 million less than what Los Angeles could have given him. But in Houston, Howard saw the chance to join Harden and boost this up-and-coming team. Harden blossomed in his first year with the Rockets, going from stellar sixth man with the Thunder to Houstons top player. He averaged 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.8 steals, setting career highs in each category. After Howard made his decision Friday night, Harden tweeted: "Houston we have lift off!!," and posted a photo to Instagram of him and his newest teammate together. "No matter how you look at it we thought it was a pretty straightforward choice," Morey said on Comcast. "To Dwights credit he did turn down a pretty significant amount of money to come to the Rockets. It shows his mindset that hes really ready to take that next step. If you look at best players, James Harden is the best player out there that he could join." But Harden certainly isnt Houstons only weapon. The Rockets signed Lin last season to run their offence and they were also buoyed by the development of Parsons, a second-round pick in 2011. Parsons averaged 15.5 points last season and was even better in the playoffs when Lin was ailing, averaging 18.2 points against the Thunder. Morey believes the move puts the Rockets among the top teams in the Western Conference and definitely positions them to contend for a title. He pointed to the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder as the teams he sees as Houstons biggest competition next season. "We obviously have our work cut out for us," he said on Comcast. "Were going to set ourselves up to be able to compete with them. This move is obviously the most important one. Well let the chips fall where they may." 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As the crowd erupted, Davis knocked the ball off the glass and back into his hands. With 1:14 to go in overtime, Davis sixth block also became his 17th rebound. That, along with his 32 points -- which tied a career high -- proved too much for Denver to overcome, and the Pelicans held on for their third straight victory, 111-107 on Sunday night.MAYNOOTH, Ireland -- Paul Casey made a 60-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole Sunday and won the Irish Open by three strokes. The 35-year-old Englishman trailed by four shots entering the final round. He closed with a 5-under 67 that featured a stretch of five birdies in six holes from No. 8 to No. 13. He finished at 14-under 274 in winning his 14th career title. "Ive never holed a putt like that to win a tournament," Casey said. "Ive always felt so at home here, so winning today is like a home victory." Englands Robert Rock (71) and third-round leader Dutchman Joost Luiten (74) shared second at 277. Casey was sidelined at the start of the 2012 season with a shoulder injury from a snowboarding accident.dddddddddddd. This is his first win since the 2011 season-opening Volvo Champions in Bahrain. Casey won the 2009 Shell Houston Open and once was ranked as high as No. 3. But he dropped to near No. 200 and lost his PGA Tour card. He arrived in Ireland ranked 169th, intent on rejoining the top 50 and the PGA Tour. "This almost feels like a first win again," Casey said. "This is a huge relief, knowing that Im moving in the right direction, that Ive got great golf left in me for another 10 plus years." The victory will move Casey back inside the top 100 and assure him a place in the Aug. 8-11 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. China NFL Jerseys Stitched Jerseys Jerseys From China Cheap Jerseys China Jerseys NFL China Jerseys NFL Cheap Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic ' ' '