The Lakers officially ushered in the Mike D’Antoni era as he made his debut as the Lakers head coach. However, it seemed like the former Coach of the Year winner already had his fingerprints on the squad; the Lakers scored 114 against the Suns last Friday and scored 119 against the Rockets last Sunday. On Tuesday night, the Brooklyn Nets came to Staples Center to test this new run-and-gun-and-fun Lakers.
Before we forget, thanks to Bernie Bickerstaff for restoring order to the Lakers. The team went 4-1 with him on the sidelines. Let’s see if L.A. kept it rolling.
The Lakers got off to a fantastic start. They pitched a shutout in the first three and a half minutes. It was a 10-0 run to start the D’Antoni era. It definitely excited the crowd.
ENERGY BASKETBALL #LAKERS
— joseph olender (@olenderj) November 21, 2012
However, the Nets kept their poise and went on an 8-0 run themselves. Luckily, for the Lakers, they have a center named Dwight Howard. You know, the one the Nets wanted in the first place.
Kobe got two early fouls but he stayed in the game and made a few jumpers throughout the quarter. He finished with 11 points in the first quarter, only missing a last-second corner 3.
The Lakers led Nets after 1, 29-23.
The Nets started out the second with a pair of C.J. Watson three-pointers. The Nets took advantage of a sub-filled Laker line-up as they took the lead after a 12-2 run that started at the end of the first.
Still, Jordan Hill continued to showcase his improvement off the bench.
The fans do appreciate it.
In the preseason Jordan Hill exhibited A-class effort. And here it is again tonight.
— giveandgo (@giveandgo) November 21, 2012
The Lakers’ offense slowed down a little bit and they were having a hard time slowing down Brook Lopez. While the Lakers were missing threes, Lopez was hitting the perimeter shot on the pick and pops.
Deron Williams started out quietly but finished with a surge. He got to the foul line almost at will. Williams helped get the Lakers starting backcourt in foul trouble (Darius Morris and Kobe each had three fouls by the end of the half). He ended up with 16 points and 5 assists.
Fortunately for the Lakers, a Metta World Peace three cut the halftime lead down to Nets 57, Lakers 56.
The offense slowed down from both teams. The Lakers were playing defense, including this, um, clean block by Dwight Howard.
Pau Gasol made a couple of jumpers in the third as he silently was playing a good all-around game.
this is why you CANNOT get rid of pau
— Rambeezy (@Al_RamBro) November 21, 2012
The teams weren’t playing as crisp in the third but the Lakers managed to keep away the Nets with an 8-2 run with the help of timely shots from Pau, Kobe, Antawn Jamison, and Chris Duhon.
The Lakers led the Nets after 3, 76-73.
The Nets got it down to their pace (they ARE the slowest team in the league in terms of pace). Brooklyn once again took advantage of the Lakers subs. Sending Dwight Howard to the line didn’t help, either. He only made 1 for 6 in the first six minutes of the fourth. It was, in a word, nauseating.
Siiiigh RT @soclutchallie: Dwight and these free throws -__-
— Leo(@LBoogie5) November 21, 2012
The Nets went on an 8-1 run during that time. With the Lakers not making anything, Brooklyn went on the Hack-a-Dwight. The misses kept on piling up.
Can Nash mind control Dwight from the bench? Please?
— Ben Rosales (@brosales12) November 21, 2012
Still, the Lakers dug deep down and got some stops. They were finally able to tie the game with Kobe’s foul shot and again with a Dwight alley-oop.
Kobe made a big lay-up to put the Lakers up three with two minutes left. Joe Johnson countered with a transition lay-up. And with the Lakers up 1, Kobe made two big freethrows to extend the lead to three. It became a free throw contest for a little bit as Kobe and D-Will traded shots from the charity stripe.
Brooklyn had one last shot to tie it with 4.8 left but Deron Williams missed a desperation 3.
Despite the Lakers shooting 19/37 from the line, the Lakers won, 93-90. Mike D’Antoni is now 1-0 as the Laker head coach.
POINTS: Kobe Bryant, 25
REBOUNDS: Dwight Howard, 15
ASSISTS: Pau Gasol, 7
BLOCKS: Dwight Howard, 4
STEALS: Metta World Peace, 2