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Lakers' Mike D'Antoni is a go, but not Steve Nash or Steve Blake

Coach makes debut with the Lakers in the wake of knee-replacement surgery, but injured point guards still are not ready to rejoin the team.

November 20, 2012|By Helene Elliott
  • Mike D'Antoni talks with assistant coaches Bernie Bickerstaff, left, and Darvin Ham during practice on his first day as the Lakers head coach at the Toyota Sports Center.
Mike D'Antoni talks with assistant coaches Bernie Bickerstaff,… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Mike D'Antoni's official Lakers coaching debut Tuesday brought the team closer to complete health, but it will be awhile before their medical room is empty.

D'Antoni watched the previous two games with injured point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake, waiting until he felt strong enough after knee-replacement surgery to take charge from the bench. D'Antoni vacated the medical room Tuesday but left the two players behind.

D'Antoni said no timetable has been set for the return of Nash, who has a small fracture in his left leg and has played only two games. D'Antoni also said Blake (abdominal strain) will be out at least the next four games. Darius Morris got his fourth consecutive start at point guard.

D'Antoni said Blake is "a lot better," but the upcoming busy schedule works against an imminent return.

"I'd like to see him practice before he plays and we have four games in five nights and we don't practice on Thanksgiving, so I'm going to rule him out for the next four games," D'Antoni said. "And then after that it should be day to day."

D'Antoni said Nash is "coming along." The Lakers announced Friday that Nash would be reevaluated this weekend.

"He feels some nerve endings that are tingling and when they go away he'll start ramping it up and we'll be fine," D'Antoni said.

"Whether it's tomorrow or next week or next month, we'll take our time and he'll eventually be there. And as soon as he gets there I know, give him an hour and a half and he'll have the offense down and running it like a clock. We can wait on that."

Aiming to please

Forward Metta World Peace, who scored 22 points against Phoenix and 15 against Houston, seems to be thriving in the Lakers' free-wheeling offensive system. He said he's simply doing what has been requested of him.

"Just trying to execute what the coach wants. That's it, really," he said. "I'm at a point in my career wherever I'm at, whoever I play for, whatever they need us to do, that's it, just do it. Coach asked me to step it up a little bit. No problem."

He also said he won't use the cliche of being in a groove to explain his performances.

"You can't have excuses," he said. "Some people say they're not in a groove when they're playing, that's an excuse. I always feel I'm in a groove, good or bad. No time for excuses. You are who you are. You play good, that's you. You play bad, that's you. Coach asked me to do different things and I'm just doing it."

Fashion statement

Dwight Howard considers himself a style expert, and Tuesday he took it upon himself to help Jordan Hill choose a headband.

"The purple is going to pop with the outfit," he said, maybe the first time that phrase has been uttered in an NBA locker room.

Howard also said he'd like to wear throwback uniforms "with the little shorts," though he said he'd wear a pair of compression shorts beneath.

"I would definitely wear them for one game. We've all got to look old-school," he said.

Twitter: @helenenothelen

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