Lakers hold on in D'Antoni's debut

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 21, 2012
Kobe Bryant scored six of his 25 points in the final two minutes, and the Los Angeles Lakers hung on for a 95-90 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night in coach Mike D'Antoni's sideline debut. Dwight Howard had 23 points and 15 rebounds despite a horrific 7-for-19 performance at the free-throw line for the Lakers, who have won five of six and moved above .500 since firing Mike Brown. Although D'Antoni is still unsteady on his surgically replaced knee, he coached Los Angeles to a narrow victory that snapped Brooklyn's five-game winning streak. Brook Lopez scored 23 points and Deron Williams had 22 for the Nets, who missed five of their last six shots in their ninth consecutive loss to the Lakers. Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace scored 17 points apiece as the Lakers wrapped up a tumultuous six-game homestand that began with coach Mike Brown's unexpected firing 11 days ago. The Lakers went 4-1 under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, but D'Antoni finally took over the bench nine days after he was hired. Los Angeles largely couldn't play at his favored tempo, but D'Antoni quickly learned the benefits of coaching Bryant, who took over in the final minutes. After taking a narrow lead through three quarters, the Lakers missed their first seven shots in the fourth and fell behind mostly due to their All-Star center's incompetence at the line. Brooklyn deliberately fouled Howard in the fourth quarter, when he went 3 for 10. Los Angeles still took the lead on Gasol's free throw with 2:37 to play, and Bryant hit a running hook shot after Joe Johnson airballed a jumper moments later. Johnson cut the lead to one point on a fast-break layup with 36 seconds left, but Bryant hit four free throws in the final 17.1 seconds while Williams missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 4 seconds left. Johnson scored 14 points for the Nets, who finish their three-game California road trip at Golden State on Wednesday night. D'Antoni nearly debuted on the Lakers' sideline two nights earlier against Houston, but was persuaded to delay by trainer Gary Vitti, who was concerned about the 61-year-old's mobility and late-game fatigue. D'Antoni felt much stronger after two more days of rest and room service at his hotel, and he eagerly got on the court without the aid of the crutches that kept him upright during his first practice last week. D'Antoni clearly isn't at full strength: He hobbled slowly on the sideline on the rare occasions he left his chair during play in the first half. He moved around with more vigor after halftime, protesting foul calls with his usual theatrical vehemence despite a slight limp in his step. Since D'Antoni took over practices last Thursday, the Lakers ran their last two opponents off the court with up-tempo offense in the first half. Los Angeles scored 40 points in the first quarter of a win over Houston on Sunday night, and Nets coach Avery Johnson claimed his team couldn't play at that pace - yet Brooklyn consistently got more fast-break production all night, outscoring the Lakers 26-7. After the Lakers scored the game's first 10 points against Brooklyn, Johnson's team got the game back to its preferred tempo. With Lopez and Williams breaking down their defenders for good shots in a half-court offense, the Nets led the Lakers 57-56 at halftime. Williams was particularly effective against Darius Morris, the third-string point guard thrust into a starting role with injuries to Steve Nash and Steve Blake. Williams employed his vicious crossover move multiple times, forcing Morris to commit three first-half fouls. Notes: The Nets haven't won six straight games or been more than five games over .500 since 2006. .. Before the game, D'Antoni said Blake and Nash will miss at least four more games, which means they won't play on the Lakers' three-game road trip over the next four days starting in Sacramento on Wednesday night. The Lakers' next home game is against Indiana on Nov. 27. ... The Lakers have won their last five road meetings with the Nets, last losing in New Jersey on March 17, 2006. They'll visit Barclays Center on Feb. 5.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker