Bryant stars as LA Lakers outclass Rockets
LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
REUTERS photoMike D’Antoni’s coaching debut was put on hold but the Los Angeles Lakers won anyway on Nov. 18, beating the Houston Rockets 119-108 behind a triple-double performance from superstar Kobe Bryant.
D’Antoni was hoping to make his Lakers head coaching debut Sunday night, but decided hours before the game that he was not quite ready to return. He is recovering from knee replacement surgery earlier this month and is still on crutches.
Bryant finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and Dwight Howard had 28 points and 13 rebounds in the victory for the Lakers, which recorded a season-high point total.
“We shot the ball fairly well,” Bryant said. “We seemed to make the right decisions.
“We got to keep playing with a lot of energy, execute well and read the defences well.”
D’Antoni conducted the Lakers’ practice for the first time last week, but wasn’t on the bench for their 114-102 win against Phoenix on Nov. 16.
He is now planning on being ready to coach his first game tonight at home against Brooklyn.
“I am hoping but it is day-to-day,” D’Antoni said. “I am not going to compromise any kind of energy problems I might have on the bench. Bernie [Bickerstaff] does a great job and I have terrific faith in him so hopefully Tuesday is a go.”
The Lakers have gone 4-1 under interim head coach Bickerstaff. Los Angeles began the year 1-4, which resulted in the sacking of Mike Brown.
Bryant had 11 points in the first quarter, while Howard added 10 as the Lakers started quickly and led 40-29 heading into the second.
“It’s wonderful,” Bickerstaff said. “We are getting good shots. We still had little problem early with our defense but the stretch where we took off, we got more aggressive on our defense. It is best to do a few things well and get it down because all those things have options off it.”