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Lakers' surprise pick: D'Antoni

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Pau Gasol read about it on Twitter, while Dwight Howard got a midnight message on his BlackBerry. They shared Lakers fans' surprise, trepidation and anticipation.

Just when everybody thought the Lakers were getting back together with Phil Jackson, they switched course in the middle of the night and named Mike D'Antoni as the replacement for fired coach Mike Brown.

Players reacted with excitement and bewilderment Monday to the decision to bypass Jackson, the 11-time champ (five with L.A. before retiring in 2011) who discussed the job at his home Saturday and apparently wanted to return.

"It has been crazy, but all this stuff will just make this team stronger," said Howard, who had been looking forward to playing for Jackson. "Management had to do what they felt is best for the team, and we as players have got to find a way to win."

D'Antoni hadn't been cleared to travel Monday after undergoing knee replacement surgery this month. The Lakers are optimistic the former Knicks and Suns coach will arrive in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Two Lakers who supported both Brown and Jackson weren't available to weigh in. Steve Nash, who masterfully ran D'Antoni's offense in Phoenix, was getting treatment on his injured leg; Kobe Bryant left the workout early.

D'Antoni, 61, who got a three-year deal worth $12 million, runs a pick-and-roll offense tailor-made for Nash and Howard. He is close to Bryant, whom he coached with the U.S. national team.

Jackson issued a statement implying he was essentially offered the job after meeting with owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak. Jackson said after a handshake, he thought he had until Monday to decide, but was awakened by a midnight call from Kupchak.

"I didn't solicit or ask for the opportunity. … I did convey to them that I did have the confidence that I could do the job. The decision is of course theirs to make," Jackson said. "I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker fans who endorsed my return."

The Lakers framed the choice of D'Antoni as strictly a basketball matter, that a team that stumbled to a 1-4 record while trying to assimilate a Princeton offense would also struggle with Jackson's triangle offense, which can take months to master. With several players in their 30s, and Howard approaching free agency, the Lakers need an immediate turnaround.

Reports indicated Jackson wanted too much — a stake in ownership, final say on personnel, permission to skip some road games. Kurt Rambis, who worked under Jackson and is friendly with him, called the reports "categorically false."

Kupchak said D'Antoni was "the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward."

around the league: A 92-90 loss to the visiting Thunder left the Pistons with an 0-8 record, the worst start in franchise history. Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 33 and keyed a fourth-quarter comeback for Oklahoma City. … Former Gator Chandler Parsons scored a career-high 25 in the host Rockets' 113-110 loss to the Heat. … 76ers center Andrew Bynum will miss at least five more weeks because of a bone bruise in his right knee and may not play until early January. … Lakers point guard Steve Blake, starting while Steve Nash is out injured, will miss tonight's game against the Spurs with a minor abdominal strain. The remaining point guards are Darius Morris and Chris Duhon.

Heat 113, Rockets 110

MIAMI (113): James 14-26 5-8 38, Battier 2-3 0-0 6, Bosh 10-14 4-4 24, Chalmers 1-5 1-1 4, Wade 8-18 3-7 19, Allen 3-7 0-0 8, Haslem 5-6 0-0 10, Cole 1-6 0-0 2, Lewis 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 45-89 13-20 113.

HOUSTON (110): Parsons 8-17 4-4 25, Patterson 8-14 1-2 17, Asik 4-8 11-14 19, Lin 3-8 1-2 9, Harden 6-17 9-11 22, Morris 3-4 0-0 8, Delfino 3-10 0-0 8, Douglas 1-2 0-0 2, T.Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-80 26-33 110.

Miami 25 31 26 31— 113

Houston 19 33 33 25— 110

3-Point GoalsMiami 10-21 (James 5-8, Battier 2-3, Allen 2-5, Chalmers 1-3, Cole 0-1, Wade 0-1), Houston 12-34 (Parsons 5-10, Morris 2-3, Lin 2-6, Delfino 2-7, Harden 1-6, Douglas 0-1, Patterson 0-1). Fouled OutMorris. ReboundsMiami 54 (James, Bosh 10), Houston 48 (Asik 14). AssistsMiami 26 (Wade 7), Houston 25 (Lin 6). Total FoulsMiami 24, Houston 20. TechnicalsHouston defensive three second. A18,041 (18,023).

Celtics 101, Bulls 95

BOSTON (101): Pierce 4-13 2-2 10, Bass 5-6 6-6 16, Garnett 6-15 3-3 15, Rondo 10-16 0-0 20, Terry 5-10 2-2 13, Sullinger 1-2 0-0 3, Wilcox 2-2 3-3 7, Lee 2-3 0-0 4, Green 3-7 0-0 7, Barbosa 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 41-81 16-16 101.

CHICAGO (95): Deng 11-20 3-5 26, Boozer 7-14 1-3 15, Noah 6-10 5-5 17, Robinson 3-7 4-4 11, Hamilton 3-8 2-2 8, Teague 1-4 3-4 5, Mohammed 0-1 0-0 0, Belinelli 2-6 0-0 5, Gibson 1-4 2-4 4, Butler 0-0 4-4 4. Totals 34-74 24-31 95.

Boston 33 25 24 19— 101

Chicago 27 19 24 25— 95

3-Point GoalsBoston 3-16 (Sullinger 1-1, Green 1-2, Terry 1-5, Lee 0-1, Barbosa 0-2, Rondo 0-2, Pierce 0-3), Chicago 3-9 (Robinson 1-2, Deng 1-3, Belinelli 1-3, Teague 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBoston 37 (Rondo 9), Chicago 50 (Deng, Noah 11). AssistsBoston 28 (Rondo 10), Chicago 24 (Robinson 7). Total FoulsBoston 24, Chicago 15. A21,712 (20,917).

Jazz 140, Raptors 133 3OT

UTAH (140): Ma.Williams 6-9 4-6 17, Millsap 11-16 9-10 34, Jefferson 9-20 5-6 24, M. Williams 6-16 2-2 17, Hayward 4-11 2-2 12, Tinsley 0-1 0-0 0, Favors 6-12 3-6 15, Foye 4-7 8-9 20, Kanter 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 46-93 34-43 140.

TORONTO (133): McGuire 2-3 1-2 5, Bargnani 5-17 8-9 19, Valanciunas 3-3 4-4 10, Calderon 8-16 2-2 20, DeRozan 16-33 4-7 37, Lucas 3-6 0-0 7, Davis 2-4 0-0 4, Johnson 5-8 1-3 11, Kleiza 7-16 3-3 20, Ross 0-1 0-0 0, Gray 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 51-108 23-30 133.

Utah 26 26 30 22 11 10 15— 140

Toronto 28 29 30 17 11 10 8— 133

3-Point GoalsUtah 14-26 (Foye 4-6, Millsap 3-4, M. Williams 3-7, Hayward 2-6, Ma.Williams 1-1, Jefferson 1-2), Toronto 8-24 (Kleiza 3-7, Calderon 2-4, Lucas 1-3, Bargnani 1-4, DeRozan 1-6). Fouled OutFoye, Johnson, Kleiza. ReboundsUtah 60 (Jefferson 17), Toronto 60 (Johnson 14). AssistsUtah 30 (M. Williams 14), Toronto 31 (Calderon 17). Total FoulsUtah 26, Toronto 31. TechnicalsMillsap, Calderon. A18,230 (19,800).

Thunder 92, Pistons 90

OKLAHOMA CITY (92): Durant 8-22 10-10 26, Ibaka 4-9 3-3 11, Perkins 0-2 1-2 1, Westbrook 11-25 11-15 33, Sefolosha 0-2 2-2 2, Collison 1-2 0-0 2, Martin 2-8 8-8 13, Maynor 1-3 0-0 2, Thabeet 0-0 2-2 2, Lamb 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-73 37-42 92.

DETROIT (90): Prince 4-12 3-5 12, Maxiell 5-10 3-6 13, Monroe 7-14 3-4 17, Knight 2-13 2-2 8, Stuckey 7-13 4-6 19, Jerebko 1-6 1-1 3, Bynum 2-7 1-1 5, Drummond 2-3 0-0 4, Singler 3-5 1-2 9. Totals 33-83 18-27 90.

Oklahoma City 25 20 17 30— 92

Detroit 23 28 22 17— 90

3-Point GoalsOklahoma City 1-10 (Martin 1-4, Sefolosha 0-1, Durant 0-2, Westbrook 0-3), Detroit 6-17 (Singler 2-3, Knight 2-8, Prince 1-1, Stuckey 1-3, Jerebko 0-2). Fouled OutSingler. ReboundsOklahoma City 59 (Westbrook 10), Detroit 51 (Maxiell 7). AssistsOklahoma City 10 (Westbrook 4), Detroit 22 (Knight 6). Total FoulsOklahoma City 20, Detroit 28. TechnicalsOklahoma City defensive three second 3. A12,784 (22,076).

Bucks 105, 76ers 96

MILWAUKEE (105): Harris 4-5 2-2 10, Ilyasova 1-5 0-0 2, Dalembert 4-5 0-0 8, Jennings 12-21 5-5 33, Ellis 8-20 1-1 18, Dunleavy 4-6 3-5 13, Sanders 1-2 0-0 2, Udoh 2-5 3-3 7, Udrih 3-4 0-0 6, Daniels 2-7 2-2 6. Totals 41-80 16-18 105.

PHILADELPHIA (96): Turner 3-8 2-4 8, T.Young 4-6 3-4 11, Allen 0-2 0-0 0, Holiday 10-18 4-4 25, Richardson 8-16 1-2 20, Hawes 3-11 0-0 6, Wright 5-12 0-0 14, Ivey 2-6 0-0 5, N.Young 2-6 2-2 7. Totals 37-85 12-16 96.

Milwaukee 34 28 21 22— 105

Philadelphia 26 24 33 13— 96

3-Point GoalsMilwaukee 7-20 (Jennings 4-9, Dunleavy 2-3, Ellis 1-5, Harris 0-1, Daniels 0-1, Ilyasova 0-1), Philadelphia 10-24 (Wright 4-9, Richardson 3-8, N.Young 1-1, Holiday 1-2, Ivey 1-3, Hawes 0-1). ReboundsMilwaukee 55 (Sanders 9), Philadelphia 38 (T.Young 7). AssistsMilwaukee 25 (Jennings 8), Philadelphia 22 (Holiday 6). Total FoulsMilwaukee 19, Philadelphia 14. TechnicalsPhiladelphia delay. A15,086 (20,328).

Lakers' surprise pick: D'Antoni 11/12/12 [Last modified: Monday, November 12, 2012 11:08pm]

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