Trying to figure out Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni's dance card

Pau Gasol plays well as fill-in for Dwight Howard, but where Gasol fits in is uncertain. The only clear thing is that Lakers' victory isn't satisfying anyone.

MINNEAPOLIS — I came to this walk-in freezer hoping to get the best out of the Lakers because Coach Mike D'Antoni can't always get the job done.

But I still liked his chances of winning this one. In fact, I was telling him before Friday night's game, "you've won 19 straight times over this team, so even you can't screw it up."

You know what he said.

"Oh yeah?"

He had a point, nothing a sure thing apparently if he's coaching, and while the Lakers did win they should be embarrassed.

They had a 29-point lead against one of the most inept teams known to mankind and allowed Minnesota to make it a four-point game late.

"I'm embarrassed," said D'Antoni when I brought it up.

"You should be," I agreed.

"Well good," said D'Antoni.

"So we agree," I said.

"No, we don't," said D'Antoni, and it's a wonder anyone understands this guy the way he waffles.

"They do win games here; they are a professional team," D'Antoni said in stretching the truth to make his point about the Wolves.

"Shved hit some threes and things didn't go well, but at the same time we won by 10 or 12 and we're fine."

I have no idea who Shved is either, and while a win is a win, the Lakers are not fine.

They lost to Phoenix to begin this trip, blowing a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead. And they were hanging on against a Minnesota, which missed 10 free throws.

This is supposed to be a Lakers' team making a run for the playoffs. Where's the killer instinct, especially when playing teams that were certified dead long ago?

Now the Lakers have a center in Dwight Howard who will try to make a go of it the rest of the season with a bum shoulder.

This game was such a gimme, I was telling D'Antoni before it began, he could even start Pau Gasol and he never wants to do that.

"Well, I thought Robert [Sacre] was playing pretty well," said D'Antoni, and I think he was joking, but you know what he thinks of Gasol.

D'Antoni had to find a replacement for Howard, who was sent back to L.A. for treatment, so he really had no choice but start Gasol.