D’Antoni’s return to NY starts well, ends badly
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK – Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni visited an old New York haunt Wednesday night and met with those near and dear to him.
The former New York Knicks coach spent the night at his home in Westchester County in New York, with his wife, Laurel, and son, Mike D’Antoni Jr., where they still live.
“We stayed in all night. That was the first time I’ve seen them in about a month. I had a lot of catching up,” said D’Antoni who became the Lakers’ coach on Nov. 9, after the team fired Mike Brown five games into the season.
D’Antoni also had anyone under the weather (knee replacement surgery in early November) and struggling at their job (4-8 since with Lakers taking over for Mike Brown) needs – a home-cooked comfort food: pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella.
“That’s all we know how to do,” said D’Antoni, an Italian who spent several years playing professional basketball in Italy.
On Thursday at the Lakers’ late morning shootaround prior to his first game against his former team, D’Antoni said he didn’t know what kind of reception he would get hear from Knicks fans.
“I don’t know,” he said before the game.
He received boos when introduced as Lakers coach just before tip-off. “Boos, I didn’t expect anything different,” he said.
Then, the Knicks handed D’Antoni and the Lakers another loss — 116-107. It was the Lakers’ fourth consecutive loss and sixth defeat in their past seven games.
D’Antoni tried to downplay the emotions of playing against the Knicks.
“I’m too old for that,” he said. I’ll enjoy going to the Garden because that’s
always special because there’ll be an energy there. But I’m with the Lakers.”
That doesn’t mean D’Antoni is devoid of emotion.
“You get emotionally attached to any team you’re at,” he said. “There’s a lot of players still there. Raymond (Felton), (Tyson) Chandler and ‘Melo (Anthony) and all these guys you’ve coached. So it’ll be fun to see them, but at the same time I’m worried about what we do.”
D’Antoni spent much of the interview with reporters defending his time with the Knicks. He had a 121-167 record in … [For more on D'Antoni's return to New York starts well, ends badly, click here.]