Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/17/12
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant had 31 points, Metta World Peace hit five 3-pointers while scoring 22 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers played Mike D'Antoni's style of up-tempo basketball in a 114-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night. Dwight Howard had 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers improved to 3-1 under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff with a performance that must have impressed D'Antoni, who watched from the locker room inside Staples Center. Although D'Antoni wasn't quite ready for sideline duty while recovering from knee replacement surgery, the Lakers played with aggression and urgency after just one practice under their new coach on Thursday. The former Suns and Knicks coach replaced Mike Brown, who was fired one tumultuous week ago. Goran Dragic scored 22 points for the Suns, who have lost three of four. Luis Scola scored 18 points, while Michael Beasley added 14 points and a career-high nine assists. The game is Phoenix's only road contest in a six-game stretch through Thanksgiving, but the Suns must rush home to face defending champion Miami on Saturday night. D'Antoni got treatment on his new knee in the Lakers' locker room while he watched his new franchise run past one of his former employers. And even though it happened against the defensively questionable Suns, the Lakers quickly lived up to D'Antoni's bold Thursday prediction about their offensive capabilities: "If we're not scoring 110, 115 points, we need to talk." The veteran coach is still on crutches after surgery earlier this month, but he's expected to debut on the Lakers' bench Sunday night against Houston. Bickerstaff pledged to run some of the new coach's offensive sets against the Suns, who still follow many of D'Antoni's tenets under coach Alvin Gentry. Los Angeles took charge of an entertaining game with a 17-2 run spanning the final two quarters, including six consecutive points from Bryant and several big plays from backup big man Jordan Hill, who had 10 points and five rebounds. The Lakers surpassed 100 points with 9:26 to play on a three-point play by Howard, who is widely expected to thrive in a pick-and-roll offense. World Peace also embraced his chances to be a 3-point shooter in D'Antoni's offense, while Pau Gasol scored 12 points on a series of spot-up jumpers in the first quarter before finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Steve Nash missed his seventh straight game for the Lakers with a small fracture in his left leg, keeping him out of his first potential matchup with the franchise with which he spent the past eight seasons, winning two NBA MVP awards and reaching two Western Conference finals with D'Antoni on the bench. During the third quarter, the Lakers announced Nash will miss at least another week before getting re-examined next weekend. The Lakers are in the midst of a heavy slate of games, meaning the point guard is likely to miss 12 straight games before the Lakers' next projection on his return. The results of D'Antoni's arrival seemed obvious from the opening quarter, when the Lakers scored 35 points and ran the court with an urgency they haven't consistently shown in years. Both teams traded significant runs in the second quarter, with the Lakers taking a 62-57 lead at halftime after closing with a 12-2 surge. NOTES: Before the game, Staples Center unveiled a nearly 16-foot-tall bronze statue of NBA career scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shooting his famed skyhook. A long list of NBA greats attended the dedication ceremony, including Julius Erving and Magic Johnson. Abdul-Jabbar got a lengthy standing ovation while waving to the Lakers crowd from center court at halftime. ... The Suns have trailed by double digits in nine of their 10 games this season. ... Eddie Murphy, Andy Garcia, Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll and "2 Broke Girls" stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs attended the game.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michael Jordan wants Warriors to break Bulls record

Joe Mauer says concussions have affected his hitting

Kobe once tried to recruit Dirk Nowitzki to Lakers

Report: Broncos waiting on Manning to talk with Osweiler

NBA commish wants to look into hack-a-player issue

Report: Jose Fernandez has 'soured' on Marlins brass

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Zach LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

Alleged Manning sexual assault cited in Tennessee lawsuit

Arian Foster: It's hard for me to watch football

Isaiah Thomas recruiting players at All-Star weekend

Report: Charles Woodson joining ESPN's Sunday NFL crew

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Dustin Johnson's son steals Jordan Spieth's club

Fans want Floyd Mayweather to buy their soccer team

Tennessee shares Valentines-themed photo of packed stadium

NY Post writer takes harsh shot at Jason Pierre-Paul

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

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

LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

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