Salvation arrived with an offensive system and a 'stache — and the Lakers soon realized both situations proved to be hairy.

Mike D'Antoni, who cut his teeth as the Nuggets' coach and made his name with the Suns, showed up to L.A. with a spacious fast-break system that, months into this thing, the Lakers are still trying to perfect.

Before Monday's Nuggets-Lakers game, my reporter friend Ramona Shelburne asked him, "Is this job harder than you thought it would be?"

"There's not a job in the NBA that's easy. You just don't fall out of bed and things happen," said D'Antoni, who began coaching the Lakers in the 11th game of the season, following the firing of Mike Brown. "It gets more complicated with injuries — I didn't know Steve Nash would be out. I didn't know Steve Blake would be out. I didn't know Dwight Howard wasn't 100 percent. So yeah, there were some side issues, but every job is hard."