The NBA: D’Antoni’s Lakers

Mike D'Antoni is the new LA Lakers Head Coach -- Yikes.
(image by Kathy Willens/AP)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Lakers need to work on their defense?

And, again, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Mike D'Antoni the last coach in the world anybody would think of when it comes to good defense?

Good offense? Yeah, sure. He'll probably inject some jet fuel into the Lakers' loaded lineup. Maybe Kobe, Dwight, and Gasol will all average more than 20 per game after all. Maybe Nash has another chance to lead the league in assists. And, maybe, Antawn Jamison can be to LA what Tim Thomas was to Phoenix in 2006 (the Suns finished #2 out West and came back from a 1-3 series hole to eliminate the Lakers in the first round).

Good defense? Yeah, right. His teams in Phoenix and New York were always bottom 10 in the league in defensive metrics. He had 2 losing seasons with the Knicks before steering them to the Playoffs in 2011 only to get swept by the Celtics in the first round (and that's with both Melo and Amar'e already).

So, for sure, he'll be an utter failure.

Or maybe not.

For one, he's never had four potential Hall-of-Famers in one team (Kobe & Nash are shoo-ins, while Dwight and Gasol have more than fair chances of making it). He's never had a guy likes Howard patrol the paint and bail out the porous defense that's bound to perpetuate Laker games the rest of the way.

The only teams D'Antoni has been directly involved with that had comparable talent to the current LA roster are the USA National Teams he's helped assemble. Those teams didn't do too shabbily in the past few years.

Perhaps all is not lost for Los Angeles after all. Perhaps D'Antoni, for all his faults, can surprise everyone and make the Lakers fulfill their potential.

Or it could all blow up in Jerry Buss's face and we see yet another D'Antoni team crash and burn.

Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
Brooklyn 82, Orlando 74
Brook Lopez scored a game-high 20 points as the Brooklyn Nets completed the sweep of a home-and-home series against the Orlando Magic with an 82-74 victory at Barclays Center. Deron Williams added 17 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, while Kris Humphries added a double-double with 14 points and 21 rebounds for the Nets, who have won three of five. Glen Davis had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Nikola Vucevic contributed 14 points and 12 boards for Orlando, which has dropped four straight. Arron Afflalo netted 19 points in defeat.

Deron Williams and the Nets swept the
Magic in a home-and-home series.
(image by Seth Wenig/AP)

LA Clippers 89, Atlanta 76
Blake Griffin had 16 points and six rebounds and Chris Paul added 15 points and eight assists in the Los Angeles Clippers' 89-76 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Caron Butler tallied 13 points and six boards for Los Angeles, which has won three straight. Josh Smith registered 13 points and six rebounds, while Al Horford chipped in with 11 points and nine boards for the Hawks, who have dropped two in a row on the on the heels of a brief two-game winning streak.

Memphis 104, Miami 86
Wayne Ellington connected on seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 25 points as the Memphis Grizzlies rolled past the Miami Heat, 104-86, at FedEx Forum. Zach Randolph added 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Mike Conley also dropped in 18 points with nine assists for the Grizzlies, who have won five straight are now off to the best start to a season in franchise history at 5-1. Chris Bosh scored 22 points to pace Miami, which had its four-game win streak snapped. LeBron James contributed a double- double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and was the only other member of the Heat to score in double digits.

Rudy Gay helped the Grizzlies throttle the Heat at home.
(image by Danny Johnston/AP)

Oklahoma City 106, Cleveland 91
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 53 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 106-91 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Durant tallied 26 points and eight rebounds, while Westbrook added 27 points, 10 assists and six boards for Oklahoma City, which has won four in a row and five of six. Kyrie Irving registered 20 points and five assists for the Cavs, who have dropped five of their last six contests.

LA Lakers 103, Sacramento 90
The Los Angeles Lakers already have more wins under Bernie Bickerstaff than they did with Mike Brown at the helm this season. With rumors swirling that Phil Jackson could return to the team with whom he won five of his 11 NBA titles with, Dwight Howard tallied 23 points and 18 rebounds in the Lakers' 103-90 rout of the Sacramento Kings. Brown was 1-4 when he was relieved of his duties Friday and Los Angeles is 2-0 under its interim coach Bickerstaff. Kobe Bryant had 20 points, while Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol chipped in 18 points apiece for the Lakers, who have won three of four since beginning the year with three straight losses. Jason Thompson had 15 points and 10 boards for Sacramento, which has dropped two in a row.

Will a new coach make Dwight Howard and
Kobe Bryant reach their title dreams?
(image by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty )

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1 Comment

Nice Win for La Lakers