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CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ The Hornets had been struggling long enough with their offense.
Wednesday night, they got a glimpse of life without their usually rigid defense, too, and they almost paid dearly for it.
After pumping life into the New Jersey Nets with a low-energy, porous defense in the first two quarters and the early stages of the third, the Hornets had to reach deep on both ends of the floor for a 91-88 victory at the Charlotte Coliseum.
The victory was their fifth in a row and seventh in the past eight games. And, combined with Milwaukee's 99-86 loss at Indiana, it allowed the second-place Hornets (32-26) to creep within four games of the …