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            === Lakers aim to bounce back, welcome Suns to L.A. ===
 (Sports Network) - The Mike D'Antoni era is here, but he won't be on the bench
 Friday  night when his Los Angeles Lakers host the Phoenix Suns at the Staples
 D'Antoni was introduced as the new Lakers' coach on Thursday, but indicated he
 won't  be coaching  on Friday  night. D'Antoni,  who is  recovering from  knee
 surgery, hinted he would debut Sunday versus the Houston Rockets.
 He's got some work to do, and not much time to do it.
 "The  work  we're  normally  doing  in  practice  now,  we're  doing  that  in
 September,"  said  D'Antoni. "We've got  a lot of ground  to catch up. But the
 good part is they're great players, so they catch up pretty quick."
 D'Antoni  was  brought in for  his offensive prowess  and the Lakers need some
 help on that front. They rank 20th in the NBA in scoring despite having future
 Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.
 Nash  will be  especially key when he  returns from a leg injury. Nash won two
 MVP  awards running  D'Antoni's high-octane offensive system. Steve Blake, who
 started  in  Nash's place,  is questionable  against the  Suns with a strained
 abdominal muscle.
 Since  Mike Brown was dismissed one week ago, the Lakers are 2-1 under interim
 coach  Bernie  Bickerstaff.  They  defeated  the  Golden  State  Warriors  and
 Sacramento  Kings, but  dropped  a  heartbreaker Tuesday  night  when the  San
 Antonio Spurs pulled out a two-point victory.
 Under Bickerstaff, the Lakers held those three opponents to an average of 83.6
 The  Suns head  to L.A. after a  112-106 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls at
 home on Wednesday.
 Phoenix,  which  still plays  essentially the system  of former coach D'Antoni
 under Alvin Gentry, is seventh in the NBA in team scoring, but second from the
 bottom in holding opponents.
 The Suns have trailed by 10 points or more in all five home games this season,
 but  managed a 3-2 mark. In fact, the Suns have fallen double-digits behind in
 all but one game this season.
 "It's  been happening to us every game, it's very difficult to play that way,"
 said  forward Luis  Scola. "If we put  ourselves in the situation and get down
 19,  20, and 16  every game, it's very difficult to win games. You're going to
 come  back eventually every  once and awhile but you are going to lose most of
 those games."
 The  Suns were led  in scoring and assists by Goran Dragic and in rebounds and
 blocks  by Marcin  Gortat, who shares the  lead league in blocks per game with
 the  Oklahoma City  Thunder's Serge Ibaka. Phoenix may be without the services
 of forward Markieff Morris due to a bruised lower back.
 The  Suns have won  their last two against the Lakers for the first time since
 the  2006-07  season. But Phoenix  is 0-3  in their last  three in the City of
 11/16 10:34:55 ET

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