These Rockets were just scrappy. Maybe the flash from last season won’t ever return as Bickerstaff continues to find consistent rotation minutes for the bench, manage Howard’s minutes and attempt to get the effort the previous coach did not. “We’re kinda ticking the clock right now,” Bickerstaff said. “Things are turning in the right direction for us, but with us, we understand it is everyday. We can’t afford right now with the position we’re in to take any steps backwards. We can’t get too comfortable, too confident because we won a game. This game is over with now, and we fly to Detroit and we got to prepare ourselves to get a win in Detroit.”
Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas, out since his back surgery last March, returned to shootaround Sunday with hopes of a more significant return next week. Motiejunas is scheduled for an examination Tuesday that could clear him to begin practicing for the first time since he went out with a herniated disk last season. “That’s the plan,” Motiejunas said. “I’m in the hands of the doctor. I’m not the guy who can decide. If they told me I’m not good, it means I’m not good. I’d just have to deal with it. I’d have to wait. That’s just how it is. He made the surgery on me. He’s responsible for me. For now, it’s not clear. (Tuesday) is a big day.”