Western Notes: Rockets, Lakers, Clippers, Harden

When Hoops Rumors unveiled its predictions for this season, all of us picked either the Lakers, Thunder or Spurs to come out of the Western Conference, and tonight two of those teams clash as the Spurs look to down the Lakers and run their early-season record to 2-0 against other Western contenders. The Spurs were a conference-best 6-1 coming into tonight, their only blemish a loss to the Clippers, who would love to leapfrog their L.A. rivals into the contending group. Here's the latest on the Tinseltown rivalry and other items out of the West.

  • Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald lays the blame for Royce White's latest absence on Rockets executives, tweeting that the team is led by "a bush league front office without a soul."
  • The notion that Phil Jackson will wind up with the Clippers is a "conspiracy theory you can expect to now hear a zillion times this season," tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, though sources tell Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that the rise of the Clippers played a role in the Lakers' decision to fire Mike Brown
  • Rockets owner Leslie Alexander hopes new star James Harden will attract others to Houston, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle“I know it helps," Alexander said. "Even in the brief time I’ve been around him, he always talks, I just spoke to that guy, I just spoke to that guy. He speaks to a lot of major players in the league. It’s a big plus. How big, you really don’t know.”
  • Perry Jones III admits he isn't as comfortable now as he was in the preseason, but Thunder coach Scott Brooks isn't alarmed by the rookie's subpar performance in his limited regular season minutes, as The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry chronicles.
  • Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is "very pleased" with what he's seen out of recent signee Troy Murphy so far, observes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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