With 15 games remaining, the Houston Rockets’ primary goal for the regular season is well within reach.


The Western Conference’s top seed is Houston’s to lose at this point. The Rockets (53-14) bumped its lead over the Golden State Warriors to two games by cruising to a 109-93 win Monday night over the struggling, undermanned San Antonio Spurs. The Rockets also own the tiebreaker over the Warriors, so Houston essentially has a three-game cushion in the fight to secure home-court advantage for the West finals.

The best record in the NBA might earn the Rockets a first-round date with a significantly upgraded version of the Spurs, whose struggles without their superstar small forward Kawhi Leonard have put their playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.

The Canadiens return home for a brief two-game homestand. After hosting the Stars, they play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bell Centre on Thursday. The Canadiens were 1-4-1 on their road trip and are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Monday.

It’s just another high-end piece for us, Molitor said. As a manager, when you have these types of moves, it is really exciting.

There was an unexpected reunion in the Kansas City Royals’ camp Saturday: Welcome back, sort of, Mike Moustakas.

After setting the Royals’ single-season home run record with 38 last season, Moustakas filed for free agency. He rejected a $17.4 million qualifying offer in November.

The Royals had been grooming Cheslor Cuthbert as a replacement at third. Manager Ned Yost said he needed to find ways to get Cuthbert at least 500 plate appearances.

Moustakas, however, never received the multiyear, mega-million dollar contract he and his agent Scott Boras anticipated. The Royals signed Moustakas to a one-year, $6.5 million contract this week with a mutual option for 2019. Moustakas can make another $2.2 million in incentives this year based on plate appearances, beginning at 225.

It’s fortunate the way it happened for us the way it did, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Saturday. That’s as simply as I can say it at this time.

Moustakas passed his physical and was in a Royals uniform again.

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