Kobe Bryant praises the Lakers defense while setting a record in Tuesday's win over Charlotte.
By JOE McDONNELL FS West
1. D'Antoni decided to bring Metta World Peace off the bench after he'd started the first 25 games of the season. He responded to the change with 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals, and said he'll do anything D'Antoni wants him to do. The coach said he was doing it to get more energy off the bench and to give MWP more time at power forward. “For us to have a different look and be a better team, Metta has to play the four,” D'Antoni said. In the long run it may turn out to be the right move, but it might also backfire on D'Antoni for one simple reason: the Lakers also need energy at the beginning of games. They've come out flat in the majority of the games they've played this season, and MWP's frenetic movement might be missed early on.
2. The loser in Metta's position change is Jordan Hill. The power forward/center has been a consistent source of energy for the Lakers since he began to get significant minutes last season when MWP was suspended for elbowing James Harden in the head last April. Hill's contributions go far beyond his numbers — 5.8 ppg and 5.4 rpg in 15.4 minutes per game — and it really isn't fair to one of the few Lakers who has played hard all season long.
3. The Lakers will go through one more major period of adjustment beginning probably on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks at Staples Center. That's the target date for Nash’s return to the lineup, and they won’t have played any minutes with their point guard in nearly two calendar months. As great as Nash is, it will likely be a chaotic scene for a while when he returns, as his teammates try to learn Nash’s style all over again.