Fitzgerald Cecilio

Los Angeles, CA

For getting his team into the playoffs despite injuries to key players, Mike D'Antoni will remain head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers next season.

"I think under the circumstances, Mike did a great job. We don't anticipate any kind of a change," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told

"No training camp, all the injuries, through the end of the season he's done a great job," added Kupchak, who announced the decision after the Lakers clinched seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs via a 99-95 win over the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers will face the No. 2-seeded San Antonio Spurs in a first-round playoff series beginning Sunday afternoon.

D'Antoni was hired after the Lakers fired Mike Brown just five games into the season, beating out other high-profile candidates for the job.

He then signed a three-year deal worth $12 million while the Lakers hold a team option on the fourth year of the deal.

The Lakers struggled early under D'Antoni's up-tempo system, going just 12-20 without point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake.

The Lakers dropped to 17-25 but rallied to go 28-12 the rest of the way, including a 5-0 mark to close out the season and vault past Houston into the No. 7 seed.

"We struggled through two-thirds of the season, and expectations were so high. The Lakers didn't help things by making the coaching change and putting Mike in that situation, which he was glad to take. But I think it was a little bit tougher than he thought it would be," Kupchak said.

Also, every starter for the Lakers missed significant time due to injuries, with Dwight Howard resting for several games with a shoulder injury and Pau Gasol missing six weeks due to plantar fascia in his right foot.

Nash was out two months with a broken leg and a hamstring issue the past two weeks while Kobe Bryant was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon three games ago.

"I thought he made adjustments and remained flexible with the players. We're not playing the same way we played when he first got here," Kupchak said.








Mike D'Antoni to Remain Lakers Head Coach