NBA

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 - 10:30 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Suns-Lakers Preview

Share This Story

   
 

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.

Tagged: Lakers, Suns, Kobe Bryant

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..