Muggsy and Hornets hit NBA skids

February 28, 1994|By Charles Chandler | Charles Chandler,Knight-Ridder News Service

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Losing is taking its toll on Muggsy Bogues.

The Baltimore native wasn't his usual spirited, tenacious self in the Charlotte Hornets' 114-103 loss to the Orlando Magic yesterday.

He played so poorly that he blamed the loss on himself. He missed nine of 10 shots, scored two points and committed three turnovers in the first three periods.

"I wasn't on top of my game," Bogues said. "If you ask me, I cost us the game. I didn't have the energy I normally have, that kick, that shot I need to give this team."

Part of the problem, surely, was an off-day. But there's more, plenty more, Bogues admitted in a candid post-game interview.

Bogues is not the same player he was before potential superstars Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson were injured. What point guard would be? Not to suggest that he's in this class, but Magic Johnson struggled without Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy, just as Utah's John Stockton does when Karl Malone can't play.

"Without Larry and Alonzo, it's affecting me in the way we play the game," Bogues said. "Our options are limited. Those guys allow me, and the team, to take the game to another level. You feed off those guys, and they feed off of you."

Hornets fans know the on-court relationship the diminutive former Dunbar star shares with Johnson. They're like two kids on the playground.

These days, with Johnson nursing an injured back, Bogues admits his spirit is somewhat broken.

"I wasn't having fun out there today," he said. "I'm not enjoying the game as much. You put pressure on yourself. You know you have to have a perfect game for us to have a chance to win."

The Hornets are in the midst of one of the most miserable stretches in club history. They've lost 13 of 14 games, which brings back memories of the early days of the franchise.

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