Magic Johnson makes Lakers’ Mike D’Antoni his latest target

Magic Johnson torched his favorite team again, telling “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno on Monday night the Lakers were in a bind because of “some critical mistakes.”

The biggest of those mistakes, according to Johnson? Hiring Coach Mike D’Antoni instead of Phil Jackson early last season.

“He don’t teach defense,” Johnson said. “I can’t stand to watch the Lakers play because the same play happens every single time on the Lakers -- pick and roll and the guard goes all the way in for a layup.

“What are we, 40-something games into the season? The teams run the same play on us. We haven’t stopped it yet. Uh, duh.”


D’Antoni, whose team has given up at least 100 points in 12 consecutive games, declined to address Johnson’s comments Tuesday morning at his team’s shoot-around.

“Next subject,” D’Antoni said.

Johnson, who recently ripped Lakers executive Jim Buss for what Johnson characterized as a series of bad decisions, said his admiration for D’Antoni was conditional.

“Coach D’Antoni, I like him when he was with Phoenix,” Johnson said. “We’re the Lakers. We’ve got to have a championship coach. We made a critical mistake in not bringing Phil Jackson back.”

Johnson also said the Lakers needed to make themselves more attractive to a free-agent class this summer that could include LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.

“We have to make sure we’re headed in a championship direction because none of those guys are going to come here if we’re not about winning a championship,” said Johnson, who won five titles in his 13 seasons with the Lakers.

“And the Lakers have always been about winning a championship, so I hope they get back on course.”