Some basketball was played last night. Coach D’Antoni had yet to arrive and meet his new wards but it felt as if a corner might have been turned. The game was winnable and it would have been sweet if it had. But make no mistake – this was a Lakers team that was fired up. The Bernie Bickerstaff playground revolution is now two and one and could potentially see another outing on Friday. If it feels as though the events of last weekend are receding from view, it’s because fun basketball cures all. The malice at Staples isn’t ancient history though. D’Antoni’s arrival will usher in a new phase of the fishbowl effect.
When Phil Jackson’s upcoming book, “Eleven Rings” is released next year, it will undoubtedly contain a final chapter that wasn’t anticipated during its main gestation and writing period. There have been different opinions, spins and explanations as to what exactly transpired during last weekend’s 48-hour roller coaster ride. Somewhere in between the lines is an essential truth, that the art of negotiations and promises can bring out the sharp knives and sometimes the truncheons. Mike D’Antoni seemed to be somewhat outside a rapidly evolving situation, looking in and waiting for the smoke to clear. When it did, he found himself the victor. To a degree, he was apart from the drama and feeding frenzy that forever surrounds the Los Angeles Lakers and their decision making. That will soon change.
Dave McMenamin at ESPN GO brings a thoughtful Kobe Bryant to the fore, reflecting on the lessons of the triangle and a perceived lack of respect that Phil Jackson has received from his peers around the league.
Ramona Shelburne, also at ESPN, relays an amusing Greg Popovich anecdote as he likened a possible Phil Jackson return to trying to put the Soviet Union back together.
Kevin Ding at the OC Register encapsulates last night’s pick and roll romp which featured a masterful performance by Kobe Bryant. Ding also brings Mitch Kupchak’s perspective on recent events into view.
Darius Soriano at ProBasketballTalk brings the game of the night, including a look at Danny Green’s pick and pop.
Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk writes about Nash and D’Antoni – reunited and it feels so good.
Mark Travis at Silver Screen and Roll relays news that the Lakers assistant coaching staff will essentially remain the same under Mike D’Antoni, with the addition of his brother Dan. Nod to T.J. Simers for his interview with Mike.
Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll gives credit where it’s due for last night’s strong effort.
Ian Thomsen at Sports Illustrated feels that Mike D’Antoni will be the right man for the job for both the short and long run.
Mike D’Antoni is due to arrive in Los Angeles today. The media blitz will duly anoint him and for the near future, the spotlight will be on his on-court actions and adjustments. How long or how successfully the narrative tracks the game and not “the game”, is a matter of speculation of course. As always and forever in the land of the Lakers. Welcome to the dollhouse, Coach.