Bum thumbHornets point guard Chris Paul jammed his left thumb during Saturday's practice and had it taped for Sunday night's game against Utah inside the Ford Center. Paul started but was held scoreless until hitting two free throws with 32.5 seconds left in the first half. "I'll be fine,” Paul said before the game. "I just sprained it, but I'll be all right. I was playing one-on-one with Jannero (Pargo).” Hornets coach Byron Scott said he didn't think the injury was serious. "And if it is, he wouldn't let you know about it anyway,” Scott said. •Video vibe: Public feedback has been positive to Desmond Mason's "We Dem Hornets” rap video ( www.hornets.com). The video is now played on the Ford Center scoreboard before each home game. ESPN is also considering airing it. "It was something we did for fun, and it ended up going further than we thought it would,” Mason said. Asked whether he has received requests for future tracks, Mason smiled and said: "No, none of that. That was it.” Mason made quick work of the project. He practiced the song once, recorded it in one take and then put the song to video. It was done at the house of Thomas Scott, son of the Hornets coach. •Happy birthday: Hornets mascot "Hugo” celebrated his 18th birthday Sunday. On hand for his birthday party were mascots from Cleveland, New Jersey, San Antonio, Houston, Minnesota, Sacramento, Toronto and Detroit. Yes, they were the actual mascots. •Not-so prime time: The Hornets are 1-3 in nationally televised games this season. Their losses have been by an average of 21.3 points to San Antonio (103-77); Detroit (92-68) and Utah (108-94). The Hornets' lone victory came Jan. 12 against Washington (104-97). •Tough road: The Hornets depart on a three-game road trip to Denver, Phoenix and Utah, during which they will face three of the top six scoring teams, plus the league's top scorer (Denver's Carmelo Anthony), assists leader (Phoenix' Steve Nash) and blocked shots leader (Denver's Marcus Camby). There is good news, however. The Hornets don't have to play at Dallas, which is riding a franchise-record 15-game winning streak. "They're the most complete team in the league right now,” Scott said of the Mavs, who are 50-9. The next time the Hornets face Dallas is March 27 in the Ford Center. •Butler benched: Forward Rasual Butler was benched for Sunday night's game, largely because of ineffectiveness of late. Butler has scored in double figures only once since the start of February. "He's been MIA for a while,” Scott said. "I've been trying to stick with him as far as just giving him some minutes and making sure he's out there and can try to get into some sort of a rhythm. But it just hasn't happened. I don't know if it's a lack of confidence right now or what, but he's not making shots, which makes my rotations a lot shorter.” By John Rohde
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The Hornets' Linton Johnson, left, battles with Utah's Matt Harpring for a loose ball Sunday night at the Ford Center. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman