T.J. SIMERS

Mike D'Antoni's Lakers are very quick — to fall behind

In their 116-107 loss to the Knicks, the Lakers fall behind, 41-27, in the first quarter. The game only gets close after Carmelo Anthony gets hurt.

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NEW YORK — How bad is it?

I see Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni having lunch Thursday with Jack McCallum, who wrote about his time with D'Antoni in Phoenix in a book: ":07 Seconds or Less."

And I'm asking D'Antoni if he's already working on a sequel: "24 Games or Less: My Time With the Lakers."

This is before the Knicks are running the Lakers out of Madison Square Garden and before Carmelo Anthony gets hurt so the Lakers can rally and make Magic Johnson sweat a little.

How bad is Magic?

With 2:28 remaining in the first half, and that's the first half, he tweets: "I have to apologize to my friend @Spike Lee for believing my @Lakers would beat the Knicks."

Is this the earliest surrender in Lakers history?

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is in the Lakers' locker room after the Knicks win, 116-107, but I don't know enough about his religious practices to know if he's here to perform last rites.

The Lakers are dead, and I'm telling D'Antoni he's getting killed in Los Angeles.

"I don't care," says D'Antoni, and so fans can curse, scream and carry on like there is no tomorrow.

"I don't care. If you hadn't told me I'm getting killed, I wouldn't have known."

You might want to curse, scream and carry on a little louder. Or start chanting, "Phil, Phil, Phil."

"I don't read and I don't listen," D'Antoni says. "I don't watch anything but tape. I think about the team and I live my life. Then I'll have a nice dinner and a glass of wine.

"I'm pretty secure in what I do. I don't need public approval. I try as hard as I can and if it works out, great. If not, I tried."

What is this, rec basketball, where everyone gets a ribbon for doing their best?

"Listen, half of the people want to see me die whether I die or not, and that's the half that are killing me," he says. "I don't blame them. Right now they're right. But my objective in life is to prove them wrong."

How's that going so far?

He says he's healthy enough to do his job, although it doesn't always appear to be so. He says he's drained after games but fine in preparing for and coaching them.

Two nights ago in Cleveland he breaks down, his team collapsing and D'Antoni losing his focus and cool.

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