The Hornets remind Spike Lee of the New York Knicks. Great.

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Photograph by Jonathan Bachman

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Roy elevating

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The Hornets 112-101 loss to the Portland Trailblazers was just another listless effort from a New Orleans team seemingly coming to grips with the fact that they won't play past the regular season. The game was never really close and the only thrilling moments came when Sean Payton was shown on the jumbotron in the second half and when Spike Lee and Mos Def, who were sitting baseline, got up to leave in the fourth quarter.

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Though Lee and Mos Def were out before I could get them to comment on the game (biggest question on my mind had to do with why they waited until less than three minutes remaining in the game to leave), our Jonathan Bachman attests that the New York director was catching jokes on the Hornets play, at one point saying "I feel right at home, like I'm watching the Knicks."

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If only the Hornets could be that good.

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Kidding! The Hornets are not nearly as bad as the Big Apple's sorry-excuse of a team and, as bad as Portland made them look, New Orleans didn't play as bad as to merit such a blowout. At least not on paper. Both teams were about even in shooting percentage, turnovers, and points in the paint. But the truth of the matter is that the Hornets played defense as intensely as team that's been eliminated from the playoffs would play. Which is to say, they didn't play good defense at all. The let LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy combine for 52 points, gave up 17 second-chance points and were out-rebounded 35-25.

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But, as is our wont, we'll look at the positives. Chris Paul started the game and played 31 minutes, scoring seven points and dishing 10 assists. Not the CP3 we're used to but clearly progressing since his return. Darren Collision continued his scoring binge with 22, David West remained consistent as ever with 18 points and...and...well they showed up, didn't they?

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After all the ups and down of the season, it seems like the Hornets are at long last beginning to break down. Through the good and bad losses this team almost always played hard, tonight was an exception not the rule. But with just eight games left in the season and nothing to play for beyond that, it seems like the Hornets are losing even the will to play hard. Not that you could blame them.

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But as bad as the end of this season may seem, don't listen to Spike Lee. The Hornets are not as bad as the Knicks. At least I don't think they are.

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