Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/19/12
LOS ANGELES -- Mike D'Antoni still hasn't coached a game for the Los Angeles Lakers, but it's obvious he began putting a stamp on his new team after taking over seven days ago. Still mending from recent knee-replacement surgery, D'Antoni was not on the sideline Sunday when the Lakers welcomed the Houston Rockets. It didn't matter. With D'Antoni watching from a trainer's room inside Staples Center, grimacing while undergoing a taxing physical therapy session but smiling from what he was seeing on the television screen, the Lakers cruised past the Rockets 119-108 while utilizing the D'Antoni-inspired, up-tempo, fast-paced offense. Kobe Bryant continued his early-season efficiency with his first triple-double of the season, finishing with 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. Four other Lakers scored in double figures, led by Dwight Howard, who had 28 points and 13 rebounds. Pau Gasol scored 17 points, Metta World Peace added 15, and Darius Morris 12 as the Lakers opened leads of 18 points in the second half. The Lakers shot 54.1 percent from the field and finished with 25 fast-break points. Their 119 points were a season high. And to think, point guard Steve Nash still isn't back from his leg injury. The new, high-flying Lakers improved to 4-1 since Mike Brown was fired. While the Rockets tried to keep up, it's becoming increasingly clear opponents will have their hands full keeping tabs on the wide array of weapons the Lakers present. Chandler Parsons scored 24 points to lead Houston. James Harden added 20, and Patrick Patterson finished with 14. Rockets point guard Jeremy Linn had five points, making just two of nine shots, but he handed out 10 assists. The Rockets shot 49 percent from the field. Los Angeles finished the first half with a 68-60 lead after shooting 67.4 percent (29-for-43) from the floor. Howard led the way with 18 first-half points, while second-year guard Morris added 12. Bryant had 11, and Gasol scored 10. With the good for the Lakers came some bad in the first half, most notably on the defensive end, where they allowed the Rockets to shoot 54 percent. Most troublesome was the 38 points the Lakers surrendered in the paint, the result of too many fast-break points given up and a lack of sharpness on defensive rotations. Harden had 14 first-half points for Houston, while Parsons added 12. NOTES: D'Antoni said earlier Sunday he was 50-50 to coach his first game later that evening, but upon arriving at Staples Center, he was ruled out by team trainer Gary Vitti. D'Antoni is still under medication following recent knee-replacement surgery, and he typically gets fatigued later in the day. As a result, he decided he was not up to the challenge. "I don't want to be a sideshow," D'Antoni said. He hopes to return later this week. ... With D'Antoni out, Bernie Bickerstaff retained his spot as interim coach for the fifth straight game. Bickerstaff is 4-1 since taking over for Brown. ... Bickerstaff has been assured a spot on the coaching staff for the remainder of the season, according to D'Antoni. Dan D'Antoni, the new head coach's older brother, also will serve as an assistant coach the rest of the season, the team announced Sunday. Dan D'Antoni, 65, spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Knicks when Mike D'Antoni was head coach in New York. He also served as an assistant coach for the Suns during Mike D'Antoni's final three seasons with Phoenix.
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