Los Angeles made Mike D’Antoni’s debut behind the Lakers’ bench a successful one by beating the Brooklyn Nets 95-90 on Tuesday night at Staples Center arena.
D’Antoni, limping after undergoing recent surgery, had been unable to take over behind the bench until Tuesday because of discomfort and tightness in his knee.
“It is great be out there,” D’Antoni said. “That’s what you coach for. I feel pretty good.”
Kobe Bryant scored 25 points, and Dwight Howard finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers who are now 5-1 since sacking Mike Brown.
“We did a good job taking care of the ball and being in sync with each other,” Bryant said. “He [D’Antoni] is always calm, but he has an undertone edge to him.”
The 26-year-old Howard was just seven-of-19 from the free-throw line on Tuesday.
The Lakers even rubbed the win in. At one point in the final quarter Metta World Peace, who used to be known as Ron Artest, sank a three pointer, then walked over and rubbed the head of Brooklyn coach Avery Johnson, who just stood there.
The Lakers started the season 1-4 under Brown, but have gone 5-1 since his departure.
The Lakers passed on the opportunity to bring back 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson after they hired D’Antoni on Nov. 12.
Even before D’Antoni took over, the Lakers had already begun to run his offence over the last two games.
Deron Williams had 22 points and 10 assists for Brooklyn.
The Nets have lost their last nine games to the Lakers.
KNICKS 102, HORNETS 80
In New Orleans, Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points and the Knicks extended the undermanned New Orleans Hornets’ losing streak to four games.
Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith each added 15 points. Felton scored all of his points on five three-pointers as New York hit 14 threes as a team.
Tyson Chandler grabbed 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who have won two straight since their first loss of the season and are 8-1 for only the third time in franchise history.
Ryan Anderson, starting in place of Anthony Davis, led the Hornets with 15 points.
76ERS 106, RAPTORS 98
In Philapdelphia, Jason Richardson scored six of his 21 points late in the fourth quarter, Nick Young had 23 off the bench and the 76ers rallied to beat Toronto.
Jrue Holiday had 19 points and 12 assists, and Thad Young scored 18 to help the Sixers win their third straight game.
DeMar DeRozan had 24 and Andrea Bargnani scored 22 for the Raptors, who are off to a 3-8 start.
Down 87-80 early in the fourth, the Sixers came back to win the first game in which they trailed after three quarters.