Nov 21, 2012, 1:57 AM EDT
Mike D’Antoni made his long-awaited debut as Lakers head coach on Tuesday, but the team’s previous win over the Rockets looked much more like his style. Nevertheless, the substance was there as L.A. overcame some mistakes to get a 95-90 win over the Nets that pushed the team over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
The first half of this one looked like what we might expect to see when the Lakers face quality teams while running this new system. There was plenty of trading baskets, and the Nets were able to get a lot of good looks as L.A. was slow in its defensive rotations, when they bothered to rotate at all. Brook Lopez was the main beneficiary of the New Jersey offense, getting 12 first-quarter points and ending up with 17 by halftime, scoring both inside and out.
Deron WIlliams did the damage for the Nets in the second quarter, straight up abusing Lakers guard Darius Morris for 10 points in less than six minutes. But after scoring 34 points in the second to take a one-point lead into the locker room at the half, the Nets managed just 33 points the rest of the way, thanks to a combined 5-of-21 shooting from Williams and Joe Johnson in the final two periods, and a dismal team shooting of under 33 percent.
As is going to be the case more often than not, while New Jersey struggled to manufacture offense, the Lakers had too much talent to ultimately be stifled. L.A. got huge games from Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace — the four combined to go 29-of-54 from the field, good for 53.7 percent, and good enough to beat just about anyone.
There were some bumps along the way, however. The Lakers were outrebounded, and gave up 14 on the offensive end. The reserves are still giving way too much of the game away when the starters try to get some rest, and over the course of the season, heavy-minute efforts like this one where four of the five starters play 38 minutes or more (with Howard surpassing 40) are going to add up.
And of course, we have the free throw shooting. A horrific 19-of-37 night from the line, led by Howard going 7-of-19 (including an airball) is certainly cause for concern. Avery Johnson tried to exploit the problem further by intentionally fouling Howard sporadically in the fourth quarter, but didn’t fully commit and picked an extremely curious time to do so.
Brooklyn trailed 77-73 with 10:32 to play in the game. The Nets went on an 11-1 run to lead 84-78 with 5:22 to play, holding the Lakers without a field goal for over five minutes, the last two while L.A. had its starters back on the floor. That was when Johnson first called for the “Hack-a-Dwight,” and did it once more a few possessions later. Howard made one of two free throws each time, getting the Lakers a free point with no time having run off the clock, which is pretty important when a team is losing and there’s only a few minutes left to play.
Bryant took over for L.A. down the stretch, scoring his team’s last eight points — six of which came from the free throw line — in the game’s final two minutes to close this one out.
This was a good win for the Lakers, their first over a quality team on the young season, and their first while facing adversity under their new head coach. It wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as their last outing, or as run-and-gun as it could be under D’Antoni once Steve Nash returns and the team has some time to get clicking under the new system. But wins are beautiful no matter how they come, and that’s especially true for a team as talented as this one that began the year with such a rocky start.
Jul 13, 2014, 12:12 AM EDT
Wizards quickly replace Trevor Ariza with Pierce in a fairly stunning turn of events.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
Not sure LeBron needed defending, but this is pretty amusing.
Jul 12, 2014, 9:29 PM EDT
Porter drops 25 points at Summer League in Las Vegas.
Jul 12, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
Martin discusses Melo’s future and his own at Summer League in Las Vegas.
Jul 12, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT
Wizards can’t convince Ariza to return, and Houston gets a nice talent upgrade at a reasonable price.
Pau Gasol tweets he has chosen to play for Bulls. Only question is will it be sign-and-trade or not.
Jul 12, 2014, 6:41 PM EDT
The Bulls may have to amnesty Carlos Boozer.
Jul 12, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
This is about cashing in on the new TV deal in 2016.
Jul 12, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Wade releases a statement supporting LeBron’s decision to leave the Heat for the Cavaliers.
Jul 12, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
Irving also eligible for full 30 percent on Derrick Rose rule
Jul 12, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
Is the best option to do nothing and be patient?
Jul 12, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT
He shot 45.1 percent from three last season.
Jul 12, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT
His other suitors have moved on.
Jul 12, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
A lineup of Norris Cole, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Chris Bosh would be entertaining.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:13 AM EDT
This played out as expected.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
The NBA has simplified signing first-round picks. This case fell through the cracks.
Jul 12, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Like with fans, there was some surprise and a lot of nods from NBA players on twitter.
Jul 12, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
LeBron returns to Cleveland a fully realized player.
Jul 12, 2014, 1:11 AM EDT
Two teams near the top of their conference could get a lot better if they land him.
Jul 12, 2014, 12:10 AM EDT
Carter will likely replace Mike Miller, who might be Cleveland-bound to play with LeBron James
Jul 11, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT
Bucks-Cavaliers was by far the main event of the first day of Summer League action in Las Vegas.
- Report: Paul Pierce to sign two-year deal to join Wizards 4
- Report: Trevor Ariza to sign 4-year, $32 million deal with Rockets 35
- Pau Gasol tweets he has chosen to play for Bulls. Only question is will it be sign-and-trade or not. 50
- LeBron James’ contract two years, $42 million with Cavaliers. That doesn’t mean he’s leaving. 37
- LeBron returns to Cleveland a more efficient, mature player that can take team further 36
- Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker shine in head-to-head Summer League matchup 19
- Posnanski: LeBron James proves he’s a true Clevelander 58
- Report: Isaiah Thomas headed to Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade 40