Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/10/12
LOS ANGELES -- In the span of a few short weeks, the Los Angeles Lakers went from blockbuster to lackluster, from dream team to nightmare. In the span of four quarters -- and with a new coach -- everything became right in LaLa Land once more. The Los Angeles Lakers cruised to the 101-77 win over the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on Friday night, just hours after firing head coach Mike Brown and replacing him with interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff. As rumors swirled about possible big-ticket replacements -- the names Phil Jackson and Mike D'Antoni bandied about as potential hires -- Los Angeles set to work on its second big win of the young season, after a 1-4 start and a 0-8 preseason. "Emotionally, it's a rollercoaster," Bickerstaff said. "I've got a great friend ... and you feel sick to your stomach. They say mothers, don't let your sons grow up to be coaches." The main gripe during the Los Angeles Lakers' lackluster 2012-13 start had been about the team's stagnant offense under Brown. Subtract Brown, though, and it turns out the defense responds. Los Angeles held Golden State to 29-of-85 shooting, forced 18 turnovers and maintained a 58-47 rebounding advantage. That allowed them to stretch a nine-point halftime lead to 17 by the end of the third quarter after an 18-5 run over the last 5:23. "Regardless of how much emotion they have, it's the Los Angeles Lakers -- they're a formidable team with or without emotion," Golden State forward Harrison Barnes said. "But with everything going on, we knew we'd get their best shot, so we tried to come out with all the enthusiasm we could." Guard Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 27 points and had nine rebounds and seven assists, forward Pau Gasol added 14 points and 16 rebounds and forward Jordan Hill added 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting off the bench. Guard Stephen Curry had 18 points for Golden State and guard Klay Thompson added 16. "Kobe was aggressive with the ball in his hands, with the pick and roll, and he requires a lot of attention obviously," Curry said. "But on the back side, it's tough to match up with the big guys they have in paint. By firing Brown before the game, the Lakers tried to run away from their past. In the second quarter, they finally ran away from the Warriors. The Lakers claimed a 47-38 halftime lead after holding Golden State to 16 second-quarter points, as Los Angeles focused on stopping the Warriors' power trio. Curry had 13 points at the half, Thompson had 10 and David Lee nine, but no other Warrior scored more than two points in the first half. The Lakers stretched a two-point advantage with 6:28 left to a nine-point halftime lead as Bryant took control offensively, scoring seven of his 13 first-half points during the spurt. "We decided to just come out here and play," Bryant said. "At this point, there's not much you can do. Being in the league so long -- I've had some of my best friends abruptly traded, I've seen coaches come and go. It's the nature of the business, and you have to take it in stride." NOTES: The Lakers last in-season coaching change did not work out so well for them: After Rudy Tomjanovich retired during the 2004-05 season, interim coach Frank Hamblen went 10-39. ... Brown finished his Lakers tenure with a 71-game regular season record of 41-29. ... The Lakers swept their season series with Golden State, 4-0, and have swept the Warriors five of the last seven years. ... Golden State second-year guard Thompson is the son of former Lakers great and current L.A. radio color analyst Mychal Thompson. ... Bickerstaff entered the game with a head coaching record of 415-517.
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