The much-anticipated coaching debut of Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni went just as Lakers fans had hoped, as the team downed the Brooklyn Nets, 95-90, to win their third consecutive game.
The Lakers (6-5) came out of the gates guns blazing, jumping out to an early 10-0 lead. The Nets (6-3) bounced back, though, led by 12 points from center Brook Lopez. Brooklyn moved to within six points by the end of the first quarter.
Nets guard C.J. Watson drilled two three-pointers early in the second quarter to even the score at 29, and from there on, the two teams seesawed back and forth for much of the reminder of the first half. Deron Williams took over for Brooklyn to close out the half, scoring the Nets' final ten points to give them a 57-56 lead heading into the intermission.
Both teams struggled from the field in the third quarter, with the Lakers outscoring the Nets 20-16 to pull ahead, 76-73, heading into the fourth.
Brooklyn went on an 8-1 run to open the fourth quarter and pulled out to a four-point lead, while the Lakers went ice cold and shot 0-for-6 from the field. Metta World Peace put an end to the Lakers' shooting woes with 4:39 to go in the fourth when he sank a three-pointer from the corner to pull the Lakers to within two, and an alley-oop from Pau Gasol to Dwight Howard evened the score at 86 with 2:39 remaining.
Kobe Bryant sank two free throws with 17.1 seconds to give the Lakers a three-point lead, but the Nets pulled to within one on pair of free throws by Williams. Bryant hit two more free throws with just over four seconds left to seal the victory for the Lakers.
Nets head coach Avery Johnson employed the Hack-a-Howard tactic for much of the second half and it almost worked, as the Lakers big man shot an abysmal 7-of-19 from the line.
Bryant led four Lakers starters in double figures with 25 points. Howard added 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Gasol and World Peace chipped in with 17 points apiece.
Lopez led all Nets scorers with 23 and added 7 rebounds, while Williams scored 22 points and dished out 10 assists.