The Los Angeles Lakers responded to the axing of coach Mike Brown by belting the Golden State Warriors 101-77 at the Staples Center on Friday for their second win of the season.
After a close first quarter the Lakers went on a tear, with Kobe Bryant scoring 27 points, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Having fired Brown earlier in the day after starting the season 1-4 and losing all eight pre-season exhibition games, the Lakers displayed new vigor and style under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
The home fans, however, made no secret of who they wanted to fill the vacant position, chanting: “We want Phil” throughout the night in reference to former coach Phil Jackson, who helped the Lakers to five of their 16 championships.
Bryant claimed the side still used a little of the “Princeton” style offense Brown was trying to implement in the side before his dismissal, but admitted instinctual play was the real help.
“We just had to focus on our execution. It was about coming out and playing hard,” Bryant told reporters. “We really just went out there and played almost like a pick up game.”
“We opened up the floor and when we had the opportunity we actually ran some of the Princeton stuff in terms of flair picks and back picks and things of that nature but we really just tried to read each other and react,” he said.
Pau Gasol stepped up for the home side in support of Bryant’s scoring efforts, pulling in 16 rebounds and scoring 14, while bench man Jordan Hill contributed also 14 points.
“Pau was fantastic,” Bryant said. “He played with the type of intensity we’re accustomed to seeing from Pau. The important thing is he needs to keep up that intensity.”
“He’s so talented he can come out and coast to a 20 points and rebound game, but we need this intensity,” he said.
The Warriors dropped to 3-3 with the loss.