Still recovering from knee replacement surgery since his hiring 10 days ago, D’Antoni had been coaching the Lakers in practices and speaking to them before games until Tuesday night, when he guided the club to its third straight win, a 95-90 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
Since firing Mike Brown after a 1-4 start, the Lakers have won fix of six games, with their only loss an 84-82 setback to the San Antonio Spurs. So things seem to be pointed in the right direction.
In fact, they are even up three spots in my latest Power Rankings.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Lakers can relax.
There is still plenty of pressure on a team that added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the offseason and is expected to seriously contend for the NBA championship.
Many fans – and Lakers legend Magic Johnson – are still wondering why D’Antoni was hired instead of Phil Jackson. There is a school of thought that says Jackson’s triangle offense would have been a better fit than D’Antoni’s “Seven Seconds or Less” approach because the Lakers aren’t young, deep or athletic.