Lakers power forward Pau Gasol battles Hornets center Aaron Gray and guard… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
So much for the They're Just Waiting for the Playoffs Theory.
For the two-time defending NBA champions, the postseason finally got here Sunday, along with the New Orleans Hornets and ... sauntering in a little while later, Laker-style ... the Lakers, themselves!
In a stunner, which Coach Phil Jackson agreed it was ... or "a pleasant surprise," as even New Orleans' Monty Williams conceded it was ... the Hornets won, 109-100.
Remember when everyone started fresh at 0-0?
Photos: Lakers vs. Hornets Game 1
That didn't seem to do it for the Lakers, who will now show whether they can get excited at 0-1!
In another monument to underachievement, the team with the 7-1 center (Andrew Bynum) and the 7-0 power forward (Pau Gasol) scored 34 points in the paint ... to 52 for the team with the 6-10 center (Emeka Okafor) and the 6-9 power forward (Carl Landry).
Gasol took only nine shots, most of those from the perimeter, and made two, scoring eight points along with his six rebounds.
Continuing their recent tradition of brutal candor, if nothing else, Jackson, asked whether the Lakers' urgency he complained about a week ago, matched that of the Hornets, gave a flat "No."
Lakers-Hornets Game 1 box score
Jackson suggested the problem was his front line, marveling, "Our big guys were outplayed by [Aaron] Gray."
Gray is the Hornets' backup center, who averaged 3.1 points this season but made all five of his shots, scoring 12 points.
Kobe Bryant suggested the problem was one big guy — Pau Gasol, who was outscored, 17-8, by Landry, who's was actually measured at 6-7¾ in bare feet at the 2007 pre-draft camp.
"Pau is our guy," said Bryant. "He's the next in line. The responsibility and the pressure come along with that."
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Also coming along with that will be the beating Gasol gets in the press, Internet, blogosphere et al, between now and Wednesday's Game 2, which, of course, started with Kobe and Phil.
By then the postseason will be five days old so the Lakers are hoping to finally make their debut.