- (Photo: REUTERS)
The Los Angeles Lakers battle the Phoenix Suns Friday night at Staples Center. Newly hired coach Mike D'Antoni won't be on the sidelines tonight though.
Live Web streaming of the game is available with NBA.com's League Pass. The game starts at 10:30 p.m. ET.
D'Antoni, former coach of the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, and New York Knicks, said at a press conference that he knows the Lakers are built to win this year.
"This is not a project. We have a window and we're going to try to get through it," he said. "Our expectations are to win a championship. We have the team ..."
The Lakers are 3-5 and currently rank 20th in the NBA with a 96.5-per-game average. Previous head coach Mike Brown was fired last week after a 1-4 start.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and ownership said they didn't see improvement and didn't want to wait three months to find out if there would have been a change.
D'Antoni, who had knee surgery and is on crutches, said he was shocked when he was chosen to replace Brown but the shock was wearing off.
D'Antoni watched the team at practice on Thursday as his brother, new assistant coach Dan D'Antoni ran them through drills.
He said he expects to coach a game "probably Sunday," when the Lakers go against the Houston Rockets.
The Suns have a better record (4-5) than the Lakers but Andy Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com says the Suns are "a beatable opponent."
"... the Suns have beaten nobody above .500 and don't have a single player who would definitely crack the starting lineup for the purple and gold," he wrote.