Mike D’Antoni to make Lakers coaching debut against Brooklyn

The instant Mike D’Antoni woke up Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. he remained convinced he would make his Lakers (5-5) coaching debut tonight against the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center

He had slept for nearly 12 hours after going through physical therapy and taking pain medication for his recent knee replacement surgery. D’Antoni felt much more energetic than in recent days that forced him to sit or nap throughout the day. And with the Lakers embarking on a three-game trip this week, D’Antoni much preferred marking his first game appearance as Lakers Coach before the home crowd.

“I was a lot better today,” D’Antoni said following the Lakers’ morning shootaround. “I know I’m going to be a little tired. But I think the adrenaline will carry through the first couple days.”

Of course, there could be an adjustment period.

D’Antoni hasn’t worn crutches in the past four days, but he may keep them behind the bench in case he needs them. D’Antoni plans to sit for the game to minimize his movement. He envisions his rehab to last at least a “couple months.” And D’Antoni and players alike recognize the danger that a loose-ball scrum could prove consequential.

“Hopefully the ball doesn’t come his way,” Lakers center Dwight Howard said. “We’ll make sure he’s protected tonight. We’ll be praying for the angels to stay close. We’re in Los Angeles so we should have some Angels.”

Still, D’Antoni proved good enough to receive clearance from Lakers trainer Gary Vitti.

“I avoided him today,” D’Antoni said, laughing. “That’s the reason I’m out there. I haven’t seen Gary.”

After all, Vitti convinced D’Antoni to sit out of the Lakers’ 119-108 victory Sunday over the Houston Rockets. The Lakers worried about D’Antoni’s lack of mobility, reaction to medication and waning energy level. But D’Antoni said all of that has substantially improved.

“He was right and I knew he was right,” D’Antoni said of Vitti. “But this time I’m right and I know he’s okay with it.”

The Lakers are dealing with other issues beyond D’Antoni’s health.

The Lakers are still without Steve Nash (fractured left leg) and Steve Blake (lower abdomen) at least for another week. As much as he loves Darius Morris’ speed and work ethic as the team’s starting point guard, D’Antoni revealed he’ll hold back installing more complex elements of his offense for now.

“You won’t see w hat we want to do until Nash gets out there,” D’Antoni said. “You just won’t see it. We’ll try to be good and do things when Nash gets out there and seer this is how we do it. I don’t know exactly what that means but we’ll be able to platy off of Nash and see what happens.”

Still, the Lakers’ offense has flourished since D’Antoni led practice last Thursday. In the past two games, the Lakers have averaged 116.5 points per contest on 50.5 percent shooting. D’Antoni joked those numbers won’t last while he sits on the sideline.

“That always happens,” he said. “I don’t know why the hell we coach. If we leave them alone, they just go.”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter.