The Los Angeles Lakers (4-5) didn’t have new coach Mike D’Antoni on the bench during the team’s 114-102 win over the Phoenix Suns (4-6) on Friday night. Still, the new coach’s impact was already felt as the team scored its most points of the season.
Before tipoff, Lakers.com reporter Mike Trudell said D’Antoni did install some up-tempo additions into the team’s offense earlier in the week (via Twitter).
Bernie Bickerstaff will coach tonight, but Mike D'Antoni (who will watch from locker room) did put some up-tempo stuff in.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 17, 2012
The second quarter was a wild ride. Phoenix went on a 15-0 to take a five-point advantage, but then the Lakers stormed back with a 12-0 run of their own to give the team a 62-57 halftime lead.
L.A. pulled away from the Suns in the second half after a back-and-forth affair in the first half. The Lakers made their move in the waning moments of the third quarter by going on a 10-2 run to put the team up 92-84 heading into the final period.
Wow, 92 points after three quarters, that’s just four points less than the Lakers were averaging per game during the first eight games of the season!
L.A. lived up to D’Antoni’s belief that the team could average between 110-115 points per game with the current roster.
Kobe Bryant finished with a game-high 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting and also dished eight dimes for the Lakers.
Player of the Game: Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers
World Peace finished the game with 22 points, six boards and three assists.
Bryant scored in volume to lead all scoring, but did it on 41 percent shooting. It was World Peace’s three-point shooting that sparked the team during its third-quarter run.
Up Next for Suns
The Suns have little time to lick their wounds after a disappointing loss in southern California. They will return home to US Airways Center to play host to LeBron James and the Miami Heat (7-3) on Saturday night.
Up Next for Lakers
The Lakers will host the Houston Rockets (4-5) at Staples Center on Sunday night. Houston is coming off of a disappointing overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night in which they led for much of the game.