Los Angeles Lakers Not Running On All Cylinders

Kirk RichardsonContributor IJanuary 7, 2009

Hey, Mitch. The holiday season is over. It's time to pull off the stocking cap, crawl out of that warm bed, and get to work. I'm not referring to taking down the tree and holiday lights. It's time to do a little after-Christmas shopping.

The Grinch came to town last night in the form of Chris Paul and stole all of the good cheer LA bestowed on its fans Dec. 25, when the team unwrapped Boston.

Last night, a classic car was exposed for all of its problems under the hood. Parts were missing, plugs burned up, and the engine was sputtering. Kobe Bryant was the only component that kept it in the show. Despite his heroics, the car stalled in the end. LA is clearly not running on all cylinders, and the future is a little smoggy.

The Hornets pretty much had their way with the Lakers, turning purple pride into deep bruises (literally and figuratively). Egos were dashed and bodies (Lamar Odom) were injured. Trevor Ariza, God bless his hustle, couldn't make a three-point shot to save his life; last night Mr. Hustle morphed into Dr. Clankenstein.

The Lakers looked like a pack of coyotes trying to chase down the Roadrunner all night. Paul defenders reminded at least one fan of matadors, waving at him as he raced by again and again. It was clear that no one on Phil's side could keep up with Byron's quicksilver point guard, and he shredded LA like a wood chipper goes through soft pine.

All of this should have awakened Mitch Kupchak from his long winter's nap. It's time for him to address what some have seen for more than a month. The Lakers need a backup point guard to chase the likes of Chris Paul. Heck, the guy doesn't even need to be a great marksman; just someone who can keep up with the quick little guys in the NBA.

One final thought for LA's GM, and I'm sure he was probably dreaming about it last night. Your trade value for Lamar Odom just plummeted last night. With a suspect knee (depending on the outcome of today's MRI), can you get a Shawn Marion-level play in return for LO? Me thinks not.

It's more likely that option is gone, and for better or worse, Lamar is a Laker through 2009. This could turn out to be a good thing, but the jury is still out.

It's just one game, for sure, but one game can be a harbinger. The forecast could be stormy if not gloomy should LA's GM not make an adjustment or two soon. Fine-tuning is needed, but for now, this classic is still in the running for best of show.