by Marcel Mutoni

As a Laker supporter, I’m mildly obsessed with checking out the team’s schedule, always on the lookout for statement matchups and the always heart-wrenching “trap game”. Though it’s off to a promising start, the month of January is going to be tough for these guys, with land mines littering the way.

Tonight is the first true test of the new year for the Purple & Gold, as the Lakers complete a mini two-game road swing in New Orleans. The Hornets are of course on fire of late, and Chris Paul is playing like an absolute force of nature. There’s nothing anyone can do to stop the guy; he is arguably the League’s greatest point guard. Needless to say, I’m afraid of what he’ll do to Derek Fisher and company tonight.

With seven games against Playoff-bound teams this month, Kobe Bryant’s supporting cast – Andrew Bynum in particular – needs to continue to play at a high level. Taking into account that they’re playing the second of a back-to-back, to say nothing of their past struggles on the Hornets’ home floor, KB24 embarking on one of his insane scoring sprees right about now certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Prediction: Lakers (105) – Hornets (111)