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The Utah Jazz failed to stop the bleeding last night. The plummeting continued, this time at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets, of all franchises, who were led to their 110-107 win by a player named, appropriately enough, Mourning.

Just where and when the recession will stop is still the Delta Center's question of the winter. But the dawning of a new month didn't help. March came in like a lamb.The Hornets hadn't won a game against the Jazz in 10 games and more than three years. They had only won one game over the Jazz since they were born four years ago, and that came during their maiden season of 1989-90 when the Jazz more or less took the night off and Charlotte won by a point at the buzzer in the Salt Palace.

This time the Jazz weren't taking anyone or anything lightly, including themselves. They entered the game with the look of a team that had lost five of its last six and the last four in a row. They were not smiling during warmups. They were not jovial throughout the game. They were Michael Douglas in "Falling Down." Whatever you do, don't cut these guys off in traffic.

But it was of no matter. Word travels fast in the NBA, and the word since the All-Star Weekend, when Salt Lake City was Camelot and John Stockton and Karl Malone were the kings of the castle, is that the Jazz have embarked on the most curious encore since Bjorn Borg.

The Jazz are reeling. The Jazz can be had. At least for the moment. Hit them when their momentum's down.

Which is exactly what Charlotte did. Led by the twin sharks of Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson, the Hornets avenged three years' worth of Charlotte losses. Mourning had an especially stake-through-the-heart kind of night with 17 points, nine blocked shots and 22 rebounds. He was one block short of a triple double and he couldn't have cared less as he pumped a Kirk Gibson salute when the clock was running down and it was obvious the Jazz were sunk.

If there is any consolation for the Jazz during their winter of discontentment, it's that their demise is making their opponents extremely grateful. The bigger you are, the harder they rejoice.

None of this is being lost on the Jazz, who are as bewildered as the rest of the league. Last night in the locker room sounded a lot like the night before, and the night before that:

Mark Eaton: "I thought we played hard. I really did. We just don't seem to be getting it done. I don't have an answer for that right now."

Mike Brown: "We've hit bottom and we've got to bounce back, but it's not getting any easier."

Jay Humphries: "We haven't shown the tenacity to go out and put a team away."

Karl Malone: "We showed a spark. But we needed a win and we didn't get it . . . When it rains it floods."

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, the captain of Ship Adrift, may have put his finger on part of the problem when he said, "I thought our guys were trying so hard that things just weren't going to fall for them.

"It's a funny game. Sometimes that's the way it works."

Sloan was referring specifically to the Jazz's misfortunes at the free throw line, where they made just 24 shots on 36 attempts. Included were four missed technical free throws - by Jeff Malone and John Stockton, the icemen of the line themselves.

If you're looking for proof positive that a still dissgruntled voodoo queen in New Orleans who hasn't gotten over the franchise's exodus is celebrating Mardi gras by sticking pins in a Jazz doll, well, there it is.

"I see us coming out of this," said Sloan, a man ever in search of another floor burn. "If you play hard and don't start feeling sorry for yourself, you'll be all right."

The coach said he sees the potential for a silver lining in going on the road for the next three games - at Detroit, New York and Atlanta.

"Here (at home), as soon as a couple of little things went bad, our players could sense the fans thinking, `here we go again,' " he said. "Sometimes the road is the best place to work these things out."

A reporter asked the coach, "Do you have any idea where you're going to start?"

"Oh," said Sloan. "I think I'll start the same guys."