n case anyone has forgotten, Mike D’Antoni’s marching orders were fairly basic when he took over the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We’re built to win this year,” he said on Nov. 15, when he was introduced in Los Angeles. “This is not a project. We have to win. Coming close is not good enough.”
Those already are starting to sound like famous, last words.
The Lakers will arrive at the Garden Thursday night in a condition rarely seen, whether you want to go back to Magic Johnson’s Showtime era, the championship days of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, or their most recent title teams.
They’re in a shambles.
For so long, the Knicks have always used a game against the Lakers to see where they stack up. But this will be no measuring-stick game, not with the Knicks rolling merrily along at 16-5, unless the 9-13 Lakers want to see where they stack up against the top team in the Eastern Conference.
Then again, it might not be pretty for the Lakers.