Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
The new Lakers head coach is still sidelined after offseason knee surgery. D'Antoni's first Lakers game on the bench could by as early as Tuesday against Brooklyn.
The highly anticipated Los Angeles Lakers head coaching debut of Mike D'Antoni will have to wait a few days. D'Antoni will not coach the Lakers on Sunday night, per Mike Trudell of NBA.com. The Lakers will be led by interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night at Staples Center.
Trudell also noted that D'Antoni hinted during shootaround Sunday that he might not be up to coaching on the sidelines just yet, as D'Antoni is still recovering from knee replacement surgery.
After Sunday, the next game for the Lakers is Tuesday against Brooklyn.
Bickerstaff puts his 3-1 record and franchise best .750 winning percentage on the line as the Lakers (4-5) try to get to .500 for the first time this season. The Lakers have lost two straight to the Rockets, who like Los Angeles are also 4-5 in the young season.
New Rockets star James Harden has thrived since his trade from the Thunder, as he is averaging 26.7 point per game. He is getting to the line more than 10 times per game, and leads the league averaging 40.1 minutes per game. Harden is second in the league in scoring to Kobe Bryant, who is just a shade ahead with 26.9 points per game for the Lakers.
Bryant is shooting 53.1% from the field so far this season with a stellar true shooting percentage of 64.8%. His efficiency has helped his point spree despite averaging 17.3 shots per game, which would be the fewest shots per game for Bryant since the 2003-2004 season.
Sunday's 6:30 p.m. PT game will be televised by Time Warner SportsNet.