All Their Hoops and Dreams

No one in basketball is having more fun than Mike and Laurel D'Antoni, whose 31-year marriage has spanned continents, survived needy superstars and spawned the NBA's most revolutionary offense.

Via ESPN.COM - Mike D'Antoni is sitting at his desk in his windowless office in Houston's Toyota Center, eating baked salmon and grilled vegetables an hour before a game. There is a crossword ripped from a newspaper on the desk to his right, and he alternates between his food and his puzzle, from fork to pen, left to right, like a military exercise.

The Nuggets are in town, and D'Antoni's Rockets are a win away from clinching the third seed in the Western Conference with a week left in the regular season. Mike's wife, Laurel, is sitting at a long conference table about 10 feet away. She drives to the arena with Mike three hours before tip-off for home games, talks to him in his office before and after, listens to his complaints and tries to find solutions to the interpersonal concerns endemic to an NBA team.

For now, with his team heading for a 55-win season that precisely nobody predicted, D'Antoni is content to quietly feed his brain and his body as tip-off nears and the ever-present '70s music breathes through the room. James Taylor is going to Carolina in his mind, and Laurel is talking about the importance of good teammates and good general managers and star players who buy into the system. Mike, now 65 years old, is calm, measured, casually hilarious, the undisputed champion of self-deprecation. He prefers to adopt a coach's default forecast -- cloudy, chance of doom -- but Laurel is the type who sees links and not gaps.

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