But you know darn well they're happy to be here. They knocked off the defending champion Boston Celtics, then took it to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been preparing since October for the NBA Finals; the Orlando Magic have been preparing since Sunday. That's just one reason the Lakers are going to win this thing.
Here are five more:
1. The Lakers have the best player on the planet, and notice we didn't say "closer."
The Lakers have Kobe Bryant and the Magic don't. That is reason No. 1 why the Lakers will win the NBA title. Bryant's got all kinds of motivation heading into this series, too.
First, there's still that little issue with LeBron James about who is the best player in the NBA. Considering James isn't in the Finals -- and Bryant is -- it seems to me that Bryant can reclaim that moniker, regardless what Jerry West says.
Second, don't forget that Bryant is coming off a loss in the NBA Finals to the Celtics last season. Just can't see Bryant playing in two consecutive Finals and losing both of them.
Lastly, don't think for a moment Bryant isn't motivated to win his first title without Shaquille O'Neal.
2. The Magic doesn't have anyone capable of matching up with Pau Gasol.
Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu aren't strong interior defenders. That will force Magic coach Stan Van Gundy to consider bringing help there. But anytime you bring help for a Lakers player other than Bryant, well ... it gives Bryant a chance to play 4-on-3. Not good for opponents.
An astute commenter wrote that Orlando's Tony Battie might have more of a role in this series than in previous ones because, on the surface, he would seem to be able to match up against Gasol.
The problem with Battie, however, is he's been little more than a spot player in the postseason. Is it realistic to think that Battie, who hasn't played more than 10 minutes in any game in the past two series, is going to neutralize Gasol for extended stretches?
Remember, we're talking Battie, not Battier.
3. The Lakers have the bodies to bang with Dwight Howard.
First up to check Howard will be Andrew Bynum. Right off the bat, that is a less favorable matchup for Howard than he had in the Eastern Conference finals with Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
But after Bynum, Lakers coach Phil Jackson has a slew of big defenders he can throw at Howard. None of them, mind you, is perfect but the sheer numbers are likely to have an impact.
Don't be surprised if we see D.J. Mbenga in this series. He's played fewer than 10 minutes total in the postseason, but he's big and can foul with the best of them. Howard shot free throws pretty well against the Cavaliers, but you could make a case he should have been sent to the line more.
The bottom line is there's no way the Lakers will give Howard as many uncontested dunks as the Cavs did.
Scoff at this notion all you want, but it's hard to deny its importance. The best player in this series -- Bryant -- has as much or more Finals and postseason experience than any other player in the series.
How can that NOT count for something?
As solid as Howard, Turkoglu and Lewis have been this postseason – and even Mickael Pietrus – the Finals are a different animal and take some getting used to. Unfortunately, sometimes by the time first-timers adjust, they're down in the series and it's too late.
5. The Lakers' defense.
That's right, the Lakers' defense. It's been terrific and yet they haven't gotten much credit for it.
Entering the Western Conference finals, the Denver Nuggets had scored 106 points or more in nine of their 10 playoff games. In five of those games, the Nuggets scored 113 points or more.
But in the Western Conference finals, the Lakers held the Nuggets under 100 points in three of six games. That's a pretty stark contrast and one that has to be acknowledged. For all the talk of the Lakers' lack of heart and grit and toughness, they actually played a terrific defensive series against Denver. Not that anyone seemed to notice.