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Mike D'Antoni returns to New York: Lakers' coach better bring earplugs

Mike D'Antoni brings the Los Angeles Lakers to New York Thursday. With the Knicks flying high and the Lakers limping along the ex-Knicks coach is sure to get an earful from the crowd.

Stephen Dunn

What kind of reaction will Mike D'Antoni receive at Madision Square Garden Thursday night when the former New York Knicks coach limps into town with the struggling 9-13 Los Angeles Lakers? Let's just say I hope D'Antoni has the good sense not to bring any family members to the game.

Thursday night tip off is at 8 p.m. on TNT. Here is some of what is being written and said about D'Antoni's return to New York.

Fortunes of Carmelo Anthony, Mike D'Antoni have been quite different since new Los Angeles Lakers coach left NY Knicks last March - NY Daily News
What a difference a year and a coach make. If D’Antoni quitting the Knicks and resurfacing with the Lakers is supposed to be a referendum that his fast-paced, point-guard dominated system can work, he has some work to do. The Lakers are an absolute mess, having won just four of 12 games since D’Antoni replaced Mike Brown. And following Tuesday’s loss in Cleveland, D’Antoni snapped at a reporter, something he rarely did in New York.

He even has Kobe Bryant questioning some of his moves, which wasn’t something Anthony did until after he had spent 50-plus games with D’Antoni. You can debate who quit on whom last season, but there is no denying that Anthony has thrived under new leadership and in a new system.

So much so that a very different question follows him these days: "Is Melo the league’s Most Valuable Player?"

New York Knicks' Mike Woodson embarrassing Los Angeles Lakers' Mike D'Antoni - ESPN New York
If he hasn't been embarrassed by his own Los Angeles Lakers, D'Antoni surely has been embarrassed by Mike Woodson's New York Knicks.

Right up until Thursday night's tipoff at the Garden, Woodson's predecessor will likely swear he's happy for the guy known around the league as Woody, the trusted voice on the bench D'Antoni abandoned last March when he couldn't persuade Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks to play with any of the passion they're playing with now.

Only human nature being what it is, D'Antoni can't possibly be thrilled his former assistant is making him look bad, as in really, really bad. Woodson is 34-11 since taking over the Knicks, 19-1 at home, numbers that mock D'Antoni and those forever apologizing for him.

Mike D’Antoni Doesn’t Deserve Knicks Fans’ Boos " CBS New York
D’Antoni’s tenure was far from perfect. His time in New York, however, was marred by a rebuilding process, injuries and bad timing.

He never had a real chance to make a true playoff run. A run with a roster he had a chance to mold. He was the tragic figure stuck in the middle of the Donnie Walsh and Glen Grunwald rebuilding eras.

Was his tenure ultimately a failure? Yes. Does he deserve the hate and vitriol from Knicks fans that he’s sure to get tonight? No.

Mike D’Antoni Comments On His Time As Knicks Coach | The Knicks Blog

W2W4: Knicks vs. Lakers - Knicks Blog - ESPN New York

Magic Johnson: Getting rid of Mike D'Antoni would blow up Lakers -