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Hornets buzz into Detroit

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I've been looking forward to this game for awhile and it seems I'm not alone: the game was bumped (twice) from it's original 6pm start time to 1pm so that ABC could televise it for a national audience. For the oft-overlooked Hornets, it's about time they get a share of the spotlight: they're an elite contender, sitting just a half game out of the No. 1 seed in the ultra-competitive West and coming into today's game with a full head of steam having dumped the Spurs and Lakers in their last two.

Plus, Chris Paul may be the best point guard in the game -- certainly an MVP candidate and maybe even the best all-around little man the league has seen since Isiah Thomas was still building his legacy and not destroying it. Unfortunately, we may not get to see Paul at his best; he tweaked his ankle late in Friday's game, and although he almost certainly will play, he may be somewhat limited. Then again, maybe not; as Chauncey Billups said, "he's tough as nails."

Hornets fans aren't quite as excited about facing Detroit's point guard -- here's Ryan Schwan of Hornets247 delivering the backhanded compliment of the week when discussing the first time these teams met this season:

I remember the game, and Billups was doing his best Bowen impression, poking, slapping and tugging at Paul every chance he got. He's a savvy bastard on a team of savvy bastards.

I'll be at the game filing pre-game, halftime and post-game reports for HOOPSWORLD. Enjoy the early tip-off, and do your thing in the comments.

Update: Oh good lord this is pretty: