The minute he took this job, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni shared several friends who are Lakers fans hardly seemed thrilled with his hire.
As plenty have expressed during recent losses at Staples Center, those fans also wanted Phil Jackson. The Lakers (15-21) enter tonight’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers (9-29) fielding a 10-16 record under D’Antoni’s watch. What have those Lakers fans said to him in the midst of this current six-game losing streak?
“I don’t talk to anybody,” D”Antoni said. “I have friends who call and I might get back to them a month late. They know I’m messed up. I got about 85 calls, but I don’t call anybody.”
D’Antoni apparently won’t hear those friends eager to leave a message offering encouragement, criticism or both.
“I don’t have voicemails,” he said. “I just deleted them. I don’t respond. I can’t muster enough. I don’t want to hear it first of all and I want to talk about something else. So I’m kind of in a cocoon. But I think that’s most coaches. They get in that bunker mentality, everybody is disappointed. You don’t know why sometimes. But you keep working and keep trying.”
The Lakers have lost six consecutive games for the first time since 2007. In those losses, the Lakers have allowed an average of 111.83 points per game. Meanwhile, the Lakers are playing without most of their frontline, including Dwight Howard (right shoulder), Pau Gasol (concussion) and Jordan Hill (season-ending hip injury).
Yup, there’s very little positive Lakers news to report these days.
But D’Antoni says he at least feels well physically after having knee replacement surgery in early November,
“Although you might not know it, I’m off medication,” D’Antoni said with a laugh. “I might go back on it. I was feeling pretty good about a month ago.”
D’Antoni still spends about an hour each day with Lakers physical therapist Judy Seto to help make his knee more mobile. D’Antoni joked “I don’t think I’ll ever be 100 percent” because of his age (61). But he’s come a long way since carrying crutches during his first few days coaching the Lakers.
“One of the least problems we have is my health,” D’Antoni said. “I’m good. We have other stuff we have to work out.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org