D'Antoni at the helm as Lakers beat Nets

Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:10am EST
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By Jahmal Corner

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni took charge from the sideline for the first time on Tuesday as Los Angeles leaned heavily on their defense to earn a gritty 95-90 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

D'Antoni was hired by the Lakers last week but had only been able to take the team through practices due to knee surgery.

His offense-oriented style helped the Lakers to their highest scores of the season in their last two games but on Tuesday it was their defense that secured the win.

Kobe Bryant scored the Lakers' final eight points, finishing with 25, and Los Angeles (6-5) held the visiting Nets scoreless during a near three-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter to pull out their third straight victory.

Brooklyn (6-3) had a six-point lead midway through the fourth, but went cold in the closing moments and saw their five-game winning streak snapped.

"Really happy to get a win, obviously," D'Antoni told reporters. "We didn't play well overall but to outplay a team that won five in a row, that means something. (Physically), I feel good. Adrenaline is a good thing."

Deron Williams misfired on a potential game-tying three-pointer with four seconds left. He finished with 22 points and 10 assists while team mate Brook Lopez added 23 in the loss.

"We were right there and we battled the whole game," Williams said. "We just didn't make enough plays down the stretch."   Continued...

Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard (C) attempts to grab a defensive rebound between Brooklyn Nets' Brook Lopez (L) and Gerald Wallace (R) during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok