And though Jackson has criticized the Lakers' handling of his candidacy, the players who had been eager to play for the Zen Master seem equally eager to line up for D'Antoni. Bryant and Steve Nash enthusiastically endorsed D'Antoni's hiring at the morning shootaround, with Bryant downplaying the notion that the Lakers' defense would suffer during the offense-minded coach's tenure.
The Lakers played without point guard Steve Blake, who has a minor abdominal strain. Blake had started the Lakers' last five games in place of Nash, who will be out for another week or more with a small fracture in his leg.
Darius Morris had one point on 0-for-5 shooting in his first career NBA start in Blake's place, while veteran backup Chris Duhon managed five points. The Lakers played without a point guard down the stretch, with World Peace defending Parker while Bryant largely orchestrated the Lakers' offense.
While the Lakers wait for a regime change on the bench, they've improved the effort that partly led to Brown's firing — and the Lakers aren't running Brown's much-debated, Princeton-based offense, sticking largely to pickup-ball sets on offense since the coach's departure.
NOTES: The Lakers barely exceeded the 80 points they scored in February 1999 during their lowest-scoring performance ever in their first 146 meetings with the Spurs. … DeJuan Blair scored six points for the Spurs while playing on a bruised left knee. … World Peace celebrated his 33rd birthday. The eccentric forward said he has enjoyed multiple birthday parties over the past few days. … Floyd Mayweather Jr., Minnesota Vikings lineman Matt Kalil and David Beckham attended the game.