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NBA West Roundup: D’Antoni to Make Debut, Clippers Defeat Spurs, Nuggets Stop Grizzlies

After accepting his new position a week ago, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is yet to coach his new team in a game. But Tuesday night looks like it could be his debut when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets.

In Monday’s games, the other L.A. team defeated the San Antonio Spurs for a second time this season, 92-87 and the Denver Nuggets ended the Memphis Grizzlies eight-game win streak by defeating them 97-92.

D’Antoni Prepares for Debut

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is yet to officially take over his new team as he’s recovering from knee replacement surgery. While he hoped to be on the bench with his team on Sunday against the Houston Rockets, it will be a game-time decision for Tuesday’s game.

Between pain, fatigue and medication, D’Antoni decided not to join the team on Sunday, according to a Lakers spokesman. D’Antoni said via ESPN, “I do get practices OK and all that’s good, the next step will be a game. That can be Tuesday, that can be Wednesday, I don’t know yet but with Gary, we’ll figure it out.”

In the interim, Bernie Bickerstaff has the role of head coach. Since he took over, the Lakers have gone 4-1, which is a turnaround from Mike Brown’s 1-4 record. In the last two games after two practices under D’Antoni, the Lakers have scored 233 points.

Bickerstaff will remain with the team as an assistant coach, joining older brother Dan D’Antoni when little D’Antoni returns.

Also hoping to return soon is D’Antoni’s former player Steve Nash. The veteran player has been recovering from a fractured fibula and has been out since the start of November. The team is looking for him to return and join D’Antoni in about a week.

But for now, it’s one game at time and on Tuesday, with a new coach, the bettors see a win over Brooklyn. The Lakers are -6.5 with a 208.5 over/under.

Clippers defeat Spurs 92-87

LA Clippers Chris Paul

With less than 30 seconds remaining in Monday’s game, the Spurs came within two of the Clippers. Chris Paul hit a jumper six seconds later to widen the lead to 91-87 and Eric Bledsoe’s free throw gave the Clippers the win.

For the night, Paul led the team with 19 points and eight assists. These points come in line with the bettors who also see a 19 over/under for total points per game for the player this season.

He said of his clutch shot to AP, “Yeah, I wanted to shoot; I didn’t know how, I just needed a little space. I love those situations — when it’s winning time. We’re up two with 24 seconds left, I want it.”

Lucky for the Clippers, Spurs guard Gary Neal followed Paul’s last two points with a missed three pointer which set up Bledsoe’s free throw opportunity.

Paul’s teammates joined in on double-digit nights: Matt Barnes had 14 points, DeAndre Jordan added 13 and Blake Griffin contributed 16 points with 12 rebounds.

At 8-2, the Clippers have won six in a row and sit at the top of the Pacific Division. They play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

Nuggets defeat Grizzlies 97-92

Denver Nuggets Danilo Gallinari

All good things must come to an end and on Monday, the Nuggets stopped the Grizzlies eight-game win streak.

Nuggets Danilo Gallinari showed up and helped his team win from his season-high 26 points; three of them came within the last 13 seconds of the game and placed the Nuggets ahead 96-92.

For the night, Gallinari had 26 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.

Teammate JaVale McGee added 15 points with eight rebounds while Kenneth Faried contributed 13 points and 13 boards to help his team outrebound the Grizzlies 47-33. The Nuggets also outscored Memphis in the paint at 50-44 and in second-chance points 21-16.

With the win, Denver snapped a three-game losing streak and sit at 5-6. They will play the Timberwolves on Wednesday.


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