Posted November 19, 2012 on
AP on Fox
While Los Angeles Lakers fans might get their first chance to see new coach Mike D'Antoni on Tuesday night, the Brooklyn Nets will get their first look at a player who almost ended up on their team.
Dwight Howard will try to lead the suddenly high-powered Lakers to a season-high third straight victory while denying the surging Nets their longest win streak in seven seasons.
D'Antoni was expected to appear on the Lakers' bench for the first time Sunday against Houston, but his wife and team trainer Gary Vitti convinced him to wait a few more days to continue recovering from knee replacement surgery.
"Knee replacement is serious stuff," Kobe Bryant said. "We just want him to take his time."
D'Antoni has watched the past two games from the locker room while getting therapy on his knee, and has talked to the team before games and at halftime. Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who will remain an assistant on the new staff, has guided Los Angeles to a 4-1 mark since Mike Brown's firing earlier this month.
The Lakers (5-5) have started to find their stride with D'Antoni's fast-paced style, averaging 116.5 points in their back-to-back wins even while point guard Steve Nash remains out with a small fracture in his leg. The two-time MVP, who ran his new coach's offense while the two were together in Phoenix, is not expected to return until this weekend at the earliest.
The Lakers posted their highest point total of the season in Sunday's 119-108 win against the Rockets, shooting a season-best 54.1 percent and topping 60 points in the first half for the second straight contest.
"The coaching staff is communicating extremely well in terms of things that they want to see us execute," Bryant said. "We're doing a good job reading the defense and moving the ball around. We're shooting pretty well. ... (D'Antoni) just lets us go out there and play."
Howard led the way Sunday with 28 points win after averaging 15.0 over his previous four games, but his next opponent might be highly motivated to keep him in check.
The Nets (6-2) made a major push to acquire the center this summer, but after those talks with Orlando broke down, Brooklyn acquired Joe Johnson from Atlanta and re-signed Brook Lopez and Deron Williams.
Those moves have paid immediate dividends, with the Nets off to their best start since 2002-03. That season ended with the second of back-to-back NBA finals appearances.
The Lakers, who swept the Nets in the 2002 finals, have won eight straight in the series. Brooklyn, though, might have a good chance to end that skid while securing its first six-game win streak since a franchise record-tying 14-game run March 12-April 6, 2006.
The move from New Jersey has seemed to invigorate the long-struggling Nets, who opened a three-game West Coast trip with a 99-90 victory over Sacramento on Sunday. Andray Blatche led the way with a season-high 22 points off the bench on 11-of-12 shooting.
"I'm at a loss for words right now. It's a good feeling to be on a team that has a good chance of winning every game," said Blatche, who spent his previous seven seasons with another long-suffering team, Washington.
Brooklyn won even though Williams and Johnson were a combined 5 of 22 from the field.
"It doesn't have to be Deron and me having a great game for us to win," Johnson said. "We can come at you offensively in a lot of different ways. I'm not worried about (my shot) at this point, it will come."
Howard has shot 67.1 percent in his last seven games against the Nets, averaging 20.0 points. Lopez, a California native, has averaged 26.0 points over his last four meetings with the Lakers, his best mark against any opponent over the past four seasons.
BEST OF MAXIM
Dwight Howard was once associated with the Orlando Magic and the whole he said/she said continued to plague the league for almost a year. Now that he is with the Los Angeles Lakers, everyone seems to have forgotten about the whole “Dwightmare” that surrounded him and the Magic.
At that time of difficulty between both parties, other teams were clearing space in an attempt to...
In last night’s game against the Houston Rockets, Kobe Bryant recorded his 18th triple-double of his veteran career. Not only was the Black Mamba being his usual self being a scorer and hitting the most difficult shots, but he was also grabbing rebounds and dishing out assists. Most of his assists came from Dwight Howard being active and catching Kobe’s lobs.
When the Dwight...
Adam Silver was made available to the media while the Magic were in Atlanta and the Magic media contingent asked the deputy commissioner and commissioner in waiting his thoughts on how Dwight Howard exited Orlando (h/t Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel):
It's an unfortunate circumstance," Silver answered. "I don't want to sugarcoat it. It's been that...
Dwight Howard slams two of his 23 against Brooklyn.
The By The Numbers recap for the Lakers’ 95-90 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center on Tuesday night. The Lakers are now 6-5, and next play at Sacramento on Wednesday night.
The winning percentage of the Nets after the Lakers victory over them on Tuesday. It marks the first time the Lakers have beaten a team over...
Deron Williams may have been more anxious than any other player or coach in the NBA during the whole Dwight Howard saga that took place last season. Williams wanted to play alongside a superstar, which is why he openly stated he was hoping Howard would come to the Brooklyn Nets and also why he strongly considered signing with the Dallas Mavericks. When all was said and done, he decided...
Tweet The Los Angeles Lakers are finally on a roll. The high-profile team has gone 4-1 since firing head coach Mike Brown, and appear to be playing with a lot more energy since scrapping the Princeton offense and just playing basketball. Kobe Bryant is off to one of the best starts of his career, with [...]
Ordinarily I’m not a guy who likes to fast forward past Thanksgiving just to focus on Christmas but I couldn’t just ignore this awesome new Christmas ad from the NBA featuring Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Joe Johnson, Russell Westbrook and Dwayne Wade. The ad, which features the players dribbling in rhythm to ‘Carol of the Bells’ (‘Carol of the Balls?’), promotes the...
PAST IS THE PAST
Lakers big man Dwight Howard doesn't appear too concerned about a rift that has seemingly developed between him and his former pal, Nets star Deron Williams.
LOS ANGELES Ten games into the season, it's probably safe to say that the Lakers have arrived. Or they've returned, depending upon your point of view.
Dwight Howard is back. So is his back. Pau Gasol is back. Enthusiasm is back. Entertaining and effective basketball has arrived at Staples Center, as the Lakers won their second in a row with Mike D'Antoni in the building...
For those of you looking for the alley-oop from Tuesday night, you need to check out this clip of Lakers forward Pau Gasol finding Dwight Howard on an alley-oop pass.Watch as Kobe Bryant starts the play out as he finds Gasol on the free throw line and Pau finds Dwight for the hammer dunk:
LOS ANGELES -- He had major knee replacement surgery just three weeks ago. Now that he's finally on the bench with his team, Lakers' coach Mike D'Antoni was asked if he felt that his team was more secure with their leader on the sidelines with them.
"They haven't seen me coach. They should be scared -- they should be real scared," a smiling D'Antoni...
The NBA came up with a creative advertisement featuring their "BIG Color" Christmas Day uniforms that will be worn by the teams playing that day. The commercial features superstars Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Joe Johnson, Russell Westbrook and Dwayne Wade wearing the special uniforms and dribbling to the beat of "Carol of the Bells".
BIG Color gear...
Deron Williams and Dwight Howard were unable to join forces with the Nets or any other team, but both have seemingly moved on.