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NBA Rebound; D’Antoni Hire by the Lakers is Curious

Mike D'Antoni

I don't expect D'Antoni to bring a title to the Lakers.

I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way the right now… Do not put your money on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Title. Not that you would have necessarily anyway, but I’m not at all impressed by the hiring of Mike D’Antoni to replace the recently fired Mike Brown. Something about the entire process smells very fishy from Brown’s early termination to the discussions with Phil Jackson to how quickly and mysteriously D’Antoni was named head coach the whole just stinks.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that had the Lakers gone with Jackson that I would be telling you to throw every dime you had on the Lakers, but I will tell you I’d feel better about him over D’Antoni. When you really break down this hire, it becomes pretty evident that this whole thing was in the works probably dating back to the late summer when the London Olympics were coming to an end. Both Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant of course played for Team USA. Also on staff as an assistant was one Mr. Mike D’Antoni who obviously must have had a very positive shine on Howard and Bryant.

Throw in the fact that the Lakers have a point guard in Steve Nash who won two NBA Most Valuable Player Awards while playing for D’Antoni and you’ve got yourself a coup that hasn’t been seen since the days of a Latin American country being overthrown. Where Phil Jackson figures in all of this is really hard to tell. He thought the Lakers were giving him until Monday to make a decision or at least a counter-proposal but he was reportedly blind-sided by the announcement of D’Antoni late Sunday night.

My gut tells me Kobe would have welcomed Phil but knew learning the offense would be difficult for many players and therefore decided to go with the former Knicks head coach. Keep in mind that D’Antoni has not won a thing as a head coach. His Phoenix teams were very talented but played zero defense and it would always cost them come playoff time. He ran into the same issue with the Knicks but then had the additional problem of not seeing eye-to-eye with Carmelo Anthony and poof! He was gone.

The Lakers will make the playoffs and will be a challenge for any team they face, but without playing solid defense, they don’t stand a chance in my opinion of even getting to the finals.

Games for tonight…

Jrue Holiday

Holiday and the 76ers welcome winless Detroit to Philly tonight.

Detroit at Philadelphia – The Pistons are 0-8 while Philly is 4-3. If things continue in this manner, Detroit could be mathematically eliminated by Christmas. Detroit ranks 25th in in points per game at about 91 a clip. Conversely, the Sixers rank sixth in points allowed at just 90 a game. As hard as the Pistons played in a 92-90 loss to Oklahoma City, I still don’t see their first win coming just yet. Take Philly.

Utah at Boston – With both teams at or near the .500 mark, I expect a close game in Boston this evening. Rajon Rondo is coming off a near triple-double in a win over Chicago and is averaging 12.9 assists per game while Paul Pierce is scoring just under 20 points a game for the Celtics. The Jazz might still be exhausted following a triple-overtime win at Toronto Monday night. Guard Mo Williams leads the Jazz with just under 17 points per game. I’m going to go with Utah on the road for one specific reason; Rebounding. The Jazz are near the top of the NBA while Boston is at the bottom. I like the Jazz in a tight one.

Miami at LA Clippers – This one promises to be a dandy as the 6-2 Heat head to La-La Land to play the 5-2 Clippers. LeBron James is scoring 24 points per game and the Heat lead the league in scoring overall. LAC is right behind the Heat in team scoring sitting in third, but the Clips are actually playing some defense too. This one is high-scoring for certain and it is Los Angeles so look for the stars to shine. I like Miami in a very close, exciting game.

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