Western Notes: Howard, Daniels, Mavericks

The injury-plagued Rockets welcomed center Dwight Howard back to the court Saturday, and guard Patrick Beverley told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle he expects a smooth transition. “I don’t see anything but good things to happen with Dwight,” Beverley said. “I’m excited. Our team is excited. Our coaching staff, they’re very excited. I know our fans are excited. We’re starting to get some healthy guys back. That’s a big key right now.”

There’s more Western Conference news:

  • Rockets guard Troy Daniels has always been a sharpshooter, but Feigen writes that his shot is suffering due to a shortage of playing time. Daniels has connected on just 25.6% of his three-pointers this season as he battles for minutes. He was able to sink a pair of threes Thursday in a comeback victory over the Kings“Nobody wants to sit on the bench and just watch your teammates,” Daniels said. “At the end of the day, it’s part of being a young guy. I’ve been learning since I’ve been sitting over there, so it was a great opportunity for me to get out there and just do what I do.”
  • The Mavericks shouldn’t be taken seriously as Western Conference contenders until they start beating other contenders, opines Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. The Mavericks have an impressive 17-8 record, but Saturday’s loss to Golden State left them 0-6 against the other teams currently in the West’s top eight. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” guard Devin Harris said. “We’re beating the teams we’re supposed to, but we need to elevate the team as a whole. We need to grow as a team.”
  • Despite a 5-17 start, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor can see a brighter future, writes Charley Walters of The St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota is likely to miss the playoffs for the 11th straight season, but with young talent like rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, Taylor believes better days are coming. “This year, knowing that I have [coach Flip Saunders], knowing we have some really good resources, I just understand we’re going to go through part of our growing process,” Taylor said. “For some reason, I’m more accepting of it. I haven’t found myself feeling terribly sad or terribly uncomfortable. I’m more patient.”

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