HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Donatas Motiejunas had a successful return to the Rockets’ starting lineup on Saturday.

Motiejunas did his part to jump start the Rockets in their 115-79 win over the Heat. The forward had nine of his 12 points in the opening quarter, appearing unstoppable in the low post against the Heat’s Danny Granger and forcing Miami to switch Chris Bosh to defend him down low.

“That’s where I feel the most comfortable,” Motiejunas said. “I know what I’m doing. I know how to play against the players. It’s just the things I did since I was small, so it’s just habit already.”

Prior to Saturday, Motiejunas last started on December 26, the day the Rockets signed Josh Smith. After that, Smith took Motiejunas’ place in the starting five for the next four games, trying to fit in as the Rockets had a 1-and-3 record over that time. After Friday’s 28-point loss to the Pelicans, Motiejunas was back in the lineup. And the Rockets were back in the win column.

“No matter what, you have to stay professional and help the team win,” Motiejunas said. “I think that’s the first rule, the main rule, and the only rule. It doesn’t matter (whether) you’re starting or not. You have to help the team win and bring the energy and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

It’s not quite clear how permanent Motiejunas’ return to the starting lineup will be.

“How permanent is anything?” Kevin McHale said after the Saturday win.

One thing is clear, though. Motiejunas’ return to the starting five coincided with a needed burst of energy for the team, as well as a Rockets win.

 

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