The end of the 2010-11 season gave Red Nation a number of reasons to look forward to next season. Unfortunately the lockout may prevent one from occurring.
The Rockets posted a 17-8 record after the All-Star break, a stretch that saw wins over title contenders such as the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, and road victories over the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Hornets.
Nearly all of their roster is under contract for next season, so the goal should be to rejoin the playoff pack. However, if the Rockets can carry the momentum of their finishing kick into the start of 2011-12, they would be on pace to win around 55 games.
Do they have the look of a 55-win team? Probably not, but a free-agent signing here and a minor tweak there, and suddenly the possibilities are endless.
For now, let's look at five reasons why Rockets fans should hope an NBA season tips off in 2011.