- This is the first time Mike D’Antoni will coach against his former team since taking over the Lakers. He is 4-8 in his tenure and the team is 9-13 overall. The Knicks, by contrast, have won seven of eight, are a perfect 8-0 at home and own the best record in the Eastern Conference at 16-5. “I wish [D'Antoni] the best till we play him because it’s all about the New York Knicks now as far as I’m concerned,” said Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who was a D’Antoni assistant. Woodson added that he still uses elements of D’Antoni’s offense. “I didn’t abandon his offense,” he said. “I’ve taken his offense and I’ve added a lot.” Still, Woodson said he and D’Antoni haven’t had a personal conversation “since he’s taken the job.”
- D’Antoni told reporters Thursday that he never said it was a mistake to take the Knicks job. ”It was a mistake to leave [Steve] Nash,” he said. Of his time with the Knicks, he said: “I wish I would’ve did better, but it was good.” Of the Knicks’ start this season, D’Antoni said: “They’re playing super. They’re good guys…they’re rolling right now.”
- J.R. Smith (back spasms) will play for New York but Marcus Camby (sore left foot) is questionable. The Knicks will start their small lineup with Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.
- Anthony is coming off a season-high 45-point outburst in Tuesday’s 100-97 win over the Nets in Brooklyn. ”He’s playing at a very high level,” D’Antoni said of Anthony, with whom he clashed about how to run the offense. “There’s no better offensive player in the league.”
- Los Angeles’ starting lineup is Kobe Bryant, point guard Chris Duhon, small forward Metta World Peace, power forward Antawn Jamison and center Dwight Howard.
- The Lakers continue to be without injured point guards Nash (left leg fracture) and Steve Blake (abdominal surgery), and power forward Pau Gasol (left and right knee tendinitis). Nash previously said he expects to need “another two weeks” before returning to practice, then another week before he can play. Los Angeles’ other inactive is shooting guard Darius Johnson-Odom. “They’ve been struggling some but they’re still a good team,” Woodson said of the Lakers. “There ain’t no doubt about. Anytime you got Kobe and Howard and Gasol, they’re a good team. They’re a team that’s capable of winning games.”
- Former Yankee great Bernie Williams will play the National Anthem on guitar.
– Adam Zagoria