New Orleans power forward Carl Landry reacts after making a tough shot over… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Four words and bit of a laugh summed up why the Lakers seem to bring out the best in New Orleans power forward Carl Landry.
Not some twisting, turning hoop dissertation, delving into the Xs and O's.
"It's Hollywood," Landry said with a big smile. "It's L.A."
Landry had 17 points and five rebounds in the Hornets' 109-100 upset of the Lakers in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Game 2 will be Wednesday at Staples Center, giving the currently wounded (Hornets big man Aaron Gray) an extra day to prepare for what could ultimately be a grueling series.
Landry, who was sent to New Orleans for Marcus Thornton by the Kings at the trade deadline in February, averaged 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in four regular-season games against the Lakers, an uptick from his full-season numbers of 11.9 points and 4.6 rebounds.
More important, he has a past playoff war to call upon for guidance against the Lakers. In 2009, Landry, then with the Rockets, came off the bench in the Western Conference semifinals against the Lakers.
The Lakers ultimately prevailed in seven tough games against Houston but not before losing the series opener at home and surviving a wild ride against the likes of current Laker Ron Artest, Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes and, of course, Landry, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2 of that series.
"I'm in the same shoes I was two years ago: Aaron Brooks, Scola, we were all sophomores in the league, sophomore and juniors," Landry said Sunday.
There aren't exact parallels but here are some similarities. The Rockets lost Yao Ming in that series against the Lakers, and the Hornets have been without former All-Star David West, who suffered a season-ending knee injury March 24 that required surgery.
"I've been here and done that before," Landry said. "We took the Lakers to seven games. That definitely gives me confidence and I was telling my teammates about the situation I was in two years ago."
It's not a good sign when a reserve center was in a walking boot and needed crutches after Game 1. But the Hornets' Gray, who is considered questionable for Game 2, told reporters Monday that his sprained right ankle was "sore but much better than yesterday."
Gray, who was five for five with 12 points on Sunday, said he felt as though there was a softball lodged in his ankle Sunday. He went down, turning his ankle, with 1 minute 7 seconds remaining in the game and had to be helped off the floor.