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Kobe-less Lakers 'excited' about proving people wrong, D'Antoni says

December 20, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni talks to his team during a game against the Phoenix Suns.
Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni talks to his team during a game against… (Paul Buck / EPA )

Might as well make a banner and hang it at the Lakers' training facility: 10-9 without Kobe Bryant.

It's not quite rallying-cry material, but the Lakers were just here two months ago, facing a long chunk of time without Bryant. They didn't do too badly.

"I think they're excited about disproving people like they did the first time, and we'll do it again," Coach Mike D'Antoni said Friday.

The stakes have changed, though. Steve Blake is out until at least late January because of a torn ligament in his elbow. Jordan Farmar is out until next week because of a torn hamstring.

Xavier Henry will be the point guard Friday against Minnesota. He averages 0.6 assists per game in his career.

He's had a good season at shooting guard but who's his backup if he falters at the point?

"Uh, yeah, that's a good question," D'Antoni said dryly.

It will be a committee of Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and maybe Kendall Marshall, who was signed Friday by the Lakers.

"Should be fun," D'Antoni said.

Marshall, the 13th pick in the 2012 draft, averaged three points and three assists in 48 games with Phoenix last season but was traded to Washington in October and immediately waived by the Wizards.

He has not played an NBA game since then. He was with Delaware 87ers of the NBA's Development League when he agreed a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers.

Bryant is out at least six weeks because of a fractured knee. Steve Nash is out at least four more weeks because of nerve damage in his back.


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