The Los Angeles Lakers host Mike D'Antoni's old team, the Phoenix Suns, on Friday night, but the new head coach won't be on the bench for the purple and gold just yet. D'Antoni's first game is expected to be Sunday against the Houston Rockets, so interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach his fourth game on Friday night.
The Lakers have won two of three games since the firing of Mike Brown, with their only loss coming in the final seconds against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. The Lakers have allowed just 83.7 points per game in those three contests.
Point guard Steve Blake is a game-time decision with his strained abdomen, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles. With Steve Nash also out against his old team, expect Kobe Bryant to play more point guard on Friday night. Bryant had eight assists against the Spurs while playing several minutes at the point, and has averaged 7.0 assists over his last three games.
The Lakers have beaten the Suns in their last three encounters at Staples Center.
Friday night's 7:30 p.m. PT game will be televised on Time Warner SportsNet, and is the first game available on the channel to DirecTV subscribers, as the network reached a deal with the satellite distributor on Thursday.