Found November 16, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
Stevenash
Mike D'Antoni is already making his mark on the Los Angeles Lakers, but it doesn't look like he'll be ready for his debut on the Staples Center sidelines for a few more days. As long as Kobe Bryant's there, the Lakers may not have too much trouble. Bryant has averaged 42.0 points in his last three home games against the Phoenix Suns, who have lost seven of eight on the road in this series and could have trouble faring better Friday night if they can't improve their Western Conference-worst defense. D'Antoni formally took over the Lakers (3-5) on Thursday, four days after being hired to replace Mike Brown, and he watched as his new team went through drills orchestrated by his assistant coach and brother, Dan. The former Knicks and Suns coach is still on crutches and pain medication after having knee surgery, and said he'll likely wait until Los Angeles hosts Houston on Sunday to make his official coaching debut. But D'Antoni couldn't hide his enthusiasm in his debut press conference. "I'm really happy to be here - excited," D'Antoni said. "(We're) starting to put stuff in now. Might take a little bit, but (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak) has said, and I'm sure you guys know, we're built to win this year. This is not a five-year project. We have a window, and we're going to try to get through it." The Lakers' three wins have come at home against teams that are a combined 7-18, though it looked like they might take down a contender on Tuesday. Los Angeles couldn't close, however, letting San Antonio's Danny Green hit a 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left in an 84-82 loss. Even after another defeat, Bryant was pleased with the Lakers holding the Spurs to 38.9 percent shooting. Los Angeles is allowing opponents to shoot just 41.9 percent - among the five stingiest marks in the league. "We're playing much, much better," Bryant said. "We're being much more aggressive on both ends of the floor. We're doing a good job communicating during the game, pushing guys and making them take tough shots." Bryant is shooting a startling 55.1 percent from the field, and it'd be no surprise to see him continue his early surge Friday. The 14-time All-Star has shot 54.0 percent in the Lakers' last three home wins against Phoenix (4-5), and Los Angeles has averaged 117.6 points and shot 50.5 percent while going 7-1 in its last eight at Staples in the series. The Suns' defensive woes continued Wednesday, as Chicago shot 50.0 percent in a 112-106 overtime win at US Airways Center. Phoenix is letting opponents shoot 49.7 percent - 47.5 from 3-point range - and average 108.6 points in its last seven contests. Wednesday marked the third time in four games the Suns fell behind by at least 18 points. "It's been happening to us every game, it's very difficult to play that way," said forward Luis Scola, who had 24 points and 14 rebounds. "... You're going to come back eventually every once in a while, but you are going to lose most of those games." Scola has scored 20 or more points in four straight games against the Lakers - all with Houston - but Phoenix hasn't had much luck with him putting up big numbers thus far. The Suns are 4-0 when he scores 13 points or fewer and 0-5 when he scores 15 or more. Steve Nash (leg) will have to wait to until at least Jan. 30 to face his former team, and backup Steve Blake (abdomen) is questionable after missing Tuesday's game. Forward Jordan Hill (wrist) is probable. Phoenix center Marcin Gortat has averaged 19.2 points and 13.6 boards in his last five games against the Lakers.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Lakers Injury News: Steve Nash Two Weeks Out at the Most

Steve Nash will soon be reunited with Mike D'Antoni, his former coach while the two were in Phoenix.  Nash and D'Antoni had a lot of success with the Suns, but no championships of course.  They both hope to change that with the Los Angeles Lakers, but Nash has to return to action first.  He spoke with reporters yesterday and gave an idea of when he may return.According...

Nash Out At Least One More Week

Steve Nash has a small non-displaced fracture in the head of his fibula (left leg).

Gallery: The best GIFs from the sports world

“What is a GIF?” That’s a question that many people might be asking themselves after the news on Monday that “GIF” was chosen as the Oxford American Dictionaries’ word of the year. After beating out the likes of “YOLO” and “superstorm,” GIF will definitely be a word that enters the public conversation more and more in the near future. However, sports fans are...

VIDEO: Kobe Bryant presents Mission: 5-part series on homelessness in LA

It’s a known fact that Los Angeles has the highest population of homelessness in the U.S. Lakers leading man, Kobe Bryant has started a foundation to combat that. Mission: Kobe Bryant is a 5-part series that shows life on Skid Row through some of the inhabitants eyes. Bryant takes you there and stops by the LA Mission where he speaks to four men seeking to improve their lives...

Bryant leads Lakers to victory over Suns

LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't quite "Seven seconds or less," but the Los Angeles Lakers sure scored in a blur in their final tuneup before Mike D'Antoni takes the reins. Kobe Bryant had 31 points to lead five Lakers in double-figures in a 114-102 win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night at Staples Center in what is expected to be the team's last game under interim...

Mike D’Antoni Bringing Back ‘Showtime’ to Los Angeles Will Need to Start With Defense

Enjoy the following sentence, because this will probably be the only time you ever see it written: Kobe Bryant is no Raja Bell. Bryant may have five NBA championship rings and a trophy case full of various Most Valuable Player awards, but the 2012 edition of the future Hall of Fame shooting guard is well below Bell circa 2006 on the defensive end. In everything else, Bryant puts...

State of the Team: Change for the better?

LOS ANGELES -- "Brown is a good coach 314 regular-season wins don't lie. He actually has a full season this year to show it. Let him." I wrote that at the end of last week's "Three Thoughts"; I didn't know it was also going to be the end of Mike Brown. I still stand by what I wroteMike Brown is a good coach. He's just not the right coach for...

Suns-Lakers Preview

Mike D'Antoni is already making his mark on the Los Angeles Lakers, but it doesn't look like he'll be ready for his debut on the Staples Center sidelines for a few more days. As long as Kobe Bryant's there, the Lakers may not have too much trouble. Bryant has averaged 42.0 points in his last three home games against the Phoenix Suns, who have lost seven of eight...

Video: Kobe Bryant reacts to Magic’s comments, defends Jim Buss

 I have really been intrigued by the saga unfolding out in LA LA land. The Los Angeles Lakers publicly welcomed new head coach Mike D’Antoni to their bench on Friday. Though D’Antoni will never be held in the highest regard in my green goggles, I must say his usually very dry press conferences turned candid and amusing Friday. [...]

Kobe, Metta World Peace lead Lakers

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...

Suns outpaced by D'Antoni's Lakers

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...

Mike D’Antoni Los Angeles Laker introduction press conference.

Who knew D’Antoni was mildly funny?

Up-tempo Lakers race to win over Phoenix

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...
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!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.