The Lakers were surprised at home losing 109-100 Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Hornets. After the game, Lakers coach Phil Jackson explained some of the team’s problems, noting two things: one, they didn’t have the proper effort and weren’t ready for the game, and two, that the team doesn’t play well in the mornings.
Responding to a question about the Lakers having a lot of rest before their first playoff game, Jackson went off on a tangent about the start time for the game. “We haven’t really been very good in mornings, morning games” Jackson interrupted. “We have not been. We just haven’t. Our guys really haven’t been sharp all year. We really tried to get them going today a couple of hours early to the arena so they’d be ready to go. We really weren’t animated and agressive. I think Ron was probably the best player we had out there today. Ron was keyed and ready to go and played well.”
Given that Phil referenced the Lakers not being ready for the game throughout his press conference, it sure seems like the biggest problem to him was the start time. Phil’s teams don’t often lose the first game of a playoff series, so for his team not to be ready was a surprise.
The good news for the Lakers is that the next three games in the series are night time. If you’re the type of person who is leery of conspiracy theories in the NBA, keep your eye on the start times for the TBA games the Lakers have. If you start seeing late games on the weekends for them, it’s a good reason to believe the league office is listening to Jackson.