It won’t be a Phil Jackson encore after all. Mike D’Antoni is the new coach of the Lakers. A friend of Kobe Bryant and the perfect choice to revive Steve Nash once his leg heals, he’s also a hero to fantasy owners like me who rode his fast-paced Suns and Knicks teams to a league championship or two.
Last night, with interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff calling the shots, Dwight Howard scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds against a Kings team that had two players suspended. DeMarcus Cousins will miss one more game for his foolish confrontation with a broadcaster; Thomas Robinson (who threw a vicious elbow at an opponent) will return tomorrow night. Jason Thompson had to play center (15 PTS, 10 REB) and Travis Outlaw (11 PTS) started at PF, so it’s surprising they lost by only 13. Steve Blake (strained abdominal muscle) played less than 14 minutes and that could leave Darius Morris as the starting PG until Nash returns.
Other November 11 Games
ORL @ BRK: In the second half of a home-and-home, the Magic wasn’t as bad and the Nets weren’t as good, but they still won a low-scoring game. Kris Humphries (14 PTS, 21 REB) was outstanding, Deron Williams (17 PTS, 7 AST, 7 REB, 2 STL) had his way with E’Twaun Moore (8 PTS, 4 TO) and that was the difference. Orlando is still missing Jameer Nelson (leg), Hedo Turkolgu (hand) and Al Harrington (knee) so they will eventually improve. Until then, they are in trouble.
ATL @ LAC: The Hawks tried their ‘big’ lineup but it didn’t work. Josh Smith played SF, and while 13 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST and 3 BLK isn’t bad, he also had 5 TO. Jeff Teague (8 PTS, 6 AST, 4 TO) was unable to solve Chris Paul (15 PTS, 8 AST) and the Clippers’ second unit provided a big 15-1 run early in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.
MIA @ MEM: You know what? The Grizzlies are good. Wayne Ellington was unconscious off the bench, draining seven 3-pointers for a team-high 25 points, Rudy Gay filled the box score (21 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST, 4 STL, 2 BLK) and Zach Randolph kept his streak alive. Z-Bo has double-doubled in every game this season; 18 & 12 vs. the Heat defense is really impressive. Mike Conley (18 PTS, 9 AST) makes the whole thing go. Dwyane Wade returned from a brief illness but his shot wouldn’t fall (3-for-15) and Ray Allen (5 PTS in 25 minutes) had his worst game of the season.