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Mike D’Antoni Says He Is Focused On Adjusting for Game Two, Not What Kobe Bryant Is Tweeting

by: Brian Christopher

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The Los Angeles Lakers lost their first playoff game on Sunday. But during the game, the focus wasn’t on how L.A. could stop Tony Parker or Tim Duncan. It wasn’t about what the Lakers could do to eliminate their turnovers. It wasn’t on the Lakers awful shooting performance. The focus was on Kobe Bryant Tweeting. While he was back home recovering from his Achilles surgery, Bryant was acting like an analyst on Twitter. He was offering insights on how LA could get the ball inside and even commenting on the the Lakers’ “matador” defense. Since he created such a firestorm, Bryant has vowed not to tweet during game two. Mike D’Antoni joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about the loss in game one, on the challenge of trying to shut down Tony Parker, on the message to the team offensively without Kobe Bryant, whether he realized Kobe was tweeting during the game and if he considered this past regular season a success.

On game one:

“I thought overall defensively we did quite well. We can tighten up on some things and other things will go awry, but for the most part defensively we kind of stuck to the game plan and did a pretty good job. The biggest thing was turnovers. That has been plaguing us all year. We have to do a better job of cleaning some things up. Then we gotta make shots. Gotta give them credit. (Manu) Ginobili came in and hit big shots and we didn’t hit any big shots.”

On the difficulty of trying to shut down Tony Parker:

It’s always difficult. He’s probably having one of his best years of his career and it’s a great career. I thought we did a pretty good job on him. I think he was like 8-of-21 or something like that so the percentages didn’t kill you. He’s going to be a focal point. We have to do a great job of trying to contain him on the sidelines in pick-and-rolls. At the same time, when you hold them to 37 percent shooting and you out-rebound them, then why did you lose? Ginobili hit big shots and we turned the ball over too many times. Two things we have to concentrate on.”

On the message to the team offensively without Kobe Bryant:

“The big thing too, we put Steve Nash back in so obviously there are different points of emphasis when he comes back. Trying to get him healthy. We shifted a little bit anyway since the two games we played but we’re going to be playing inside out and getting the ball inside. It’s causing some of our turnovers. We just have to find ways to clean it up and get it a little bit easier to get the ball in. Then let Dwight (Howard) and Pau (Gasol) facilitate and go to work. We will keep working at that but I think they can do that. We will have some hiccups along the way but they keep playing hard and concentrating on the defensive end we will be okay.”

Did you realize at the time that Kobe was tweeting during the game?

“No, I did not know that. (Host: Did you care?) Nah. Tweets are a part of our world now. We grew up in a different world but that is part of it. Everybody is focused on doing what they are doing so I don’t think it matters to us one way or the other.”

Was this a successful regular season?

“No, not successful. In one aspect not satisfying but in a way these guys hung in there. We were down on the bottom and to get off the bottom it took a lot of guys pulling together, put their differences aside and they did that. I think they should be happy with that moment and getting into the playoffs. I think that is good but it’s too bad it’s a crazy year with the injuries, changing the coaches, and different styles of playing, kind of like a perfect storm. I think it was disappointing to the fans and everybody. But at the same time we do have a really good group of guys that are pulling together and doing what they need to do to win.”