Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff expects Josh Smith to be the same key player he was off the bench last season and added Smith thrives with the team because there is a level of trust and comfort, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle details. Smith scored 16 points Sunday in the Rockets’ win against the Mavs.
“I feel comfortable. It might have been a little different story if this were my first time here, but being able to get the opportunity to play for the same team, around the same group of guys is awesome,” Smith said, per Feigen. “It’s definitely a comfortable feeling being able to get back. Seeing the appreciation from the fans and my teammates definitely instills confidence that this is where I belong.”
Here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- In a largely disappointing season for the Suns, Devin Booker has been the lone bright spot, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated writes. Booker became one of Phoenix’s regular starters after Eric Bledsoe suffered a torn meniscus on Christmas. Booker scored 15.4 points in 30.4 minutes per contest in his first 11 games as a starter, drawing comparisons to Klay Thompson, Fischer adds.
- Trey Burke has developed into the most reliable player off the bench for the Jazz bench, especially considering Alec Burks has been out with an injury, Jody Genessy of the Deseret News writes.
- The Warriors recalled Kevon Looney from the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s D-League affiliate, the team announced.