LOS ANGELES (AP) — Magic Johnson questioned new coach Mike D'Antoni's system with the slumping Los Angeles Lakers, saying "it doesn't fit the talent the Lakers have."
The Lakers (9-12) fell to 4-8 in the 12 games since D'Antoni took over from the fired Mike Brown with a 100-94 loss to the Cavaliers on Tuesday night in Cleveland.
"I'm not down on him yet as a coach," Johnson said earlier in the day at a Dodger Stadium appearance, although he criticized D'Antoni's plan to make the Lakers into a running team.
"You can't run with these guys," he said. "There's one guy who can get up and down the court and that's Kobe (Bryant). You've got to take that ball inside. That's how you win games."
Johnson said the Lakers have two of the best 7-footers in the NBA in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, and the offense should revolve around Gasol, who missed his fifth straight game Tuesday night with tendinitis in his knees. Point guard Steve Nash has missed 20 games with a broken left leg he sustained on Oct. 31.
Johnson called Gasol "the best passing big man in the NBA."