NBA -- New Lakers coach debuts to smashing success
By Ryan Medida
Thu, 22 Nov 2012
SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike D'Antoni's head coaching debut in Los Angeles was greeted by a smashing 95-90 Lakers victory over the streaking Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night at the Staples Center.
D'Antoni was signed to a three-year, $12 million deal to coach the Lakers last November 12, but recovery and rehabilitation from knee surgery had hindered his appearance on the sidelines until last Tuesday. And his presence inspired the Lakers to a third consecutive win which gave L.A. its first above average record of the season at six wins and five losses.
Kobe Bryant was once again at the forefront of the Lakers offense with 25 points. But the 17-year pro got plenty of support, thanks to a newly-installed free-wheeling offense that encourages ball movement and quick scoring.
Dwight Howard had 23 points and 15 huge rebounds while Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol combined for 34 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers, who made 37 of 73 field goals (47.9 percent).
"First of all, it was great to be out there and great to be with the guys. That's what you coach for," D'Antoni told NBA.com.
The 61-year old D'Antonio arrived in Los Angeles as a replacement for the fired Mike Brown, who steered the Lakers to a brutal 1-4 start, one of the proud franchise's worst in recent memory. The NBA Coach of the Year in 2005, D'Antonio made his mark in Phoenix and also coached the New York Knicks from 2008 until his resignation in 2012.
The Nets were on the heels on a five-game winning streak when they entered L.A, but the Brooklyn shooters couldn't find their mark, hitting only 34 of 82 shots including just seven of 23 from 3-point range.
Brook Lopez led the Nets with 23 points and seven rebounds while Deron Williams logged 22 and 10 assists, Chris Humphries finished with seven points and 10 rebounds. (Ryan Medida)
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