Rockets’ McHale returns
Houston coach Kevin McHale rejoined the Rockets after almost a month away from the team, and two weeks after the death of his daughter.
McHale took a leave of absence on Nov. 10 to be with his family as his daughter’s health worsened. Alexandra “Sasha” McHale died Nov. 24 of complications from Lupus. She was 23.
“It’s been awhile,” he said. “Hopefully it’s the right time. I don’t know there ever is a right time. I don’t know if there is a playbook about this, but I’m excited to be back.”
Houston went 7-6 under interim coach Kelvin Sampson while McHale was out. McHale said he spoke with Sampson daily, watched each game and tried to stay plugged into the team as much as he could while he was away.
The Rockets are paying tribute to McHale’s daughter by wearing a green and purple band on their jerseys and a patch of the same color with her initials on their warm-up shirts. Green was her favorite color, and purple is the color that represents the fight against Lupus.
Around the court
Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft, returned in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against San Antonio after leaving earlier with a back injury. ... The Dallas Mavericks say there’s no timetable for the return of Dick Nowitzki, who has swelling in his right knee after surgery. Nowitzki was hoping to return this month.