Lakers hint at "Showtime" by torching the Suns

Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:19am EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers gave their fans a taste of the 'Showtime' basketball promised by their new coach Mike D'Antoni with a rousing 114-102 home win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

Though D'Antoni was not courtside to take charge of his first game as he recovers from knee replacement surgery earlier this month, his players thrived with the up-tempo approach as they posted their highest score of the season.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant scored a game-high 31 points, center Dwight Howard contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds and Spanish forward Pau Gasol also recorded a double-double, with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Metta World Peace poured in five-of-10 three pointers to finish with 22 points and Jordan Hill, off the bench, also reached double figures with 10.

Guard Goran Dragic led the way for the Suns with 22 points and forward Luis Scola weighed in with 18 but the visitors paid the price after being out-rebounded 48-38.

"We're just getting started, but it will make a lot of things easier," Bryant told reporters of the strategy already instilled in the team by D'Antoni after his first practice session with them the previous day.

"The whole offense has to find their position. He (D'Antoni) knows how to direct his offense and he's been directing it for a long time. The main thing is it's very simple."

The Lakers dominated free throws, making 22-of-28 compared to just seven-of 15-by the Suns.   Continued...

Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat (R) of Poland defends against Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok