The New Orleans Hornets did everything right on the day of the Final Four.
They were playing an early afternoon game in Los Angeles against one of their primary nemesis, the Los Angeles Lakers. Few teams have caused the Hornets more pain or strife as Los Angeles has.
On the day New Orleans was featured not only nationally but internationally due its hosting of the Final Four, the Hornets had an opportunity to make a statement some 1,900 miles away.
Monty Williams' squad managed to keep the game tight going to halftime. They kept the game low scoring, which was always to their advantage. Most importantly they held Kobe Bryant scoreless through three quarters and without a field goal until around seven minutes to go in the fourth and final quarter.
Yet Bryant managed to rip the hearts out of the Hornets' psyche as he has done so many times before. Though he only managed 11 points for the game, it was his final three-point hit (and the only one he had on the day) that gave the Lakers the lead with 20 seconds remaining in the game.
For a team smelling the upset after leading by six at the end of the third quarter, it was that much more difficult to take. For a fan who lives just north of Los Angeles yet is a Laker hater and Hornet fan, it was enough to make me sick.
It wasn't the only heartbreaking loss the Hornets had in their disappointing season, but it's the one I'll remember most. And I wish I could forget it.