January 16, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has always loved animals. On Friday, he announced that he'd funded the building of a clinic that will help unwanted pets make their way to new homes.

Alexander's donation allowed Houston's Rescued Pets Movement to build the clinic named in memory of his late father Jack C. Alexander. The clinic will board and prepare pets for transport to other parts of the country.

''What they're doing here is taking animals who are going to be euthanized from shelters,'' Alexander said. ''This facility is going to be a facility with the best vets to make sure they get the proper care and they transport them to other places in the country which lack the animals.''

Last year the group saved 4,007 dogs and cats from being euthanized. On Friday, 93 dogs and 11 cats were loaded onto vans to be transported to no-kill shelters in Colorado where they can be adopted.

Alexander's beloved dog Penny died this week and he's looking to add a couple of big dogs soon. He said he donated to this facility because he believed in the people who run it.

''At one time I had eight animals. I had five cats and three dogs in the house,'' he said. ''I just love animals ... (so) it's always special to do things like this.''

Alexander mostly talked about the charity on Friday, but did take a couple of minutes to discuss the Rockets. He's owned the team since 1993 and attends most games, but doesn't speak to the media very often.

He likes the way the Rockets are progressing so far this season. Houston began the day at 28-12 and in second place in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference.

Alexander was asked if he thinks his team has taken that next step this season after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the past two years.

''Hopefully. We'll see in the playoffs,'' he said. ''You can't know until the playoffs.''

He's been impressed with the performance of James Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring and had his 17th 30-point game of the season on Thursday night.

''He's the MVP. Probably the best player in the league,'' Alexander said. ''He's unbelievable, just unbelievable.''

He said he couldn't have imagined that Harden would become the player has is now when they acquired him in a trade with Oklahoma City in 2012.

''Who could predict that? We knew he was going to be really good, who could predict he'd be the best player in the league,'' Alexander said.

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