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If any of that bothered D'Antoni, he wasn't about to let on. He understands he's at the front end of a process that should become considerably easier once he gets point guard Steve Nash back from injury. But even that didn't entirely explain his good mood.
"You've got 15 minutes before the Vicodin wears off," is how D'Antoni began his postgame news conference.
You could count on one hand the number of times D'Antoni has coached a team good enough to win with less than their best stuff, but he knows he's got one of those now. Not quite as good as the U.S. Olympic team that took home the gold last summer, though Bryant and Howard were both part of it.
"With this team, there's no reason not to win every game. That's our goal," he said. "It's not, 'Let's get two out of three.' We can win every game we play. ... I feel like we're the best team in the league. We've got the most talent, so they can do what they want. We've just got to keep perfecting things."
Until they get a lot closer, D'Antoni is going to keep leaning on Bryant and let him continue running the team anyway he wants. The Lakers got Howard and Nash in the offseason to take some of the load off Bryant who, considering how many minutes he's already logged, might be the oldest 34-year-old the NBA has ever seen. But Brown couldn't figure out how to ease that burden, and considering D'Antoni is on the front end of what already feels like a long season in LA, he's going to have to do his learning on the job in a hurry.
"Obviously, they haven't seen me coach and they should be scared," D'Antoni said. "They should be real scared. It should make them play harder."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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