Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is back on the winning path, and recently took thinly-veiled shots at the spectacular failure that was the 2012-’13 Los Angeles Lakers. Howard is thrilled with the increased touches and vastly improved team chemistry he’s found in Texas. Per RealGM:

“I don’t have to say, ‘I need the ball,’” Howard said. “The guys here know what we have to do to be successful, to play inside out. We have young guys, and they want to accomplish some things in this league also. I understand that. I understand that we need everyone. If I can make sure that guys are happy, that they’re getting the ball and getting a rhythm, it makes it tough to beat us.

“My time, my shots will come. I want to make sure guys around me are elevated. Me being the oldest guy on the team as far as seasons, I have to understand that I have to show these guys the right way to go.”

Howard scans the Western Conference standings, and he sees unsustainable starts from some. As teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers cement cushion in the playoff chase, a part of him is reminded of those old Cleveland Cavaliers’ 60-win seasons only derailed by dwindling staying power, hobbling to the finish line of a postseason.

“A lot of teams start out hot and cool off,” Howard said, “and I told our guys that we want to stay consistent all season and then make the big push right after All-Star break going into the playoffs. That’s when the opportunity comes.”