If an NBA team hopes to contend, large contributions are customarily needed from reserves and if Friday night's win over the Charlotte Bobcats is any indication, the New Orleans Hornets appear to be well fortified. The Hornets' bench scored a season-high 56 points in the 107-99 win over the Bobcats, bolstered by the return of Ryan Anderson from a brief starting role while rookie Anthony Davis nursed a mild concussion.
Anderson led all Hornets scorers with 25 points against the Bobcat, while backup first-year point guard Ryan Anderson contributed 16, a resounding boost considering the group's spark plug, forward Jason Smith, was limited to just five minutes because of a sprained left thumb.
In the Hornets' first four games this season, the bench has contributed 34, 31, 26 and 25 points, with Smith leading the way in three of those four games, energizing the second unit with his hustle which seems to become contagious.
"It's something I've done throughout my career, but you've got to do that anytime you come off the bench," Smith said. "You've got to give that first group a spark, a little bit of energy, kind of rejuvenate that energy they began the game with. Usually when the second team goes in, it's to give that team a rest. They're a little bit tired, so you amp up the energy and step up the pace a little bit.