Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 107, Bobcats 99
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Hornets (3-2), Bobcats (1-3)
It was over when… Brian Roberts nailed a three-pointer from the left corner, giving New Orleans a 104-94 lead with a little over a minute remaining. The Hornets bounced back from Wednesday’s frustrating loss on national TV to the 76ers by putting together what was by far their best offensive performance of the young regular season. Their previous top scoring output was 95 against San Antonio in the Oct. 31 opener. New Orleans now has several days off from game action before visiting Houston and new Rockets star James Harden on Wednesday.
Hornets MVP: In his return to the court after missing two games due to a concussion, Davis displayed what had become his usual assortment of slashing layups, putback scores and dunks. The University of Kentucky product finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, his first 20-10 game in three outings. Davis’ evening also provided him with another sampling of what life can be like in the physical NBA. At one point, he was struck in the face and lost a contact lens; he got into a first-half altercation with Byron Mullens that resulted in a technical foul against Davis and flagrant foul on Mullens; he was also hit in the face in the second half, causing him to wince for several seconds.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: When the Hornets made the decision to bring Ryan Anderson off the bench this season, Friday’s performance may have been exactly what they were envisioning. The perimeter marksman went 5-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc, highlighting his 25-point game in 28 minutes of action. Overall, he was 10-for-16 from the field. His shooting percentages over the first five games are still a bit below his norms, but the Hornets seem to be gaining a better understanding of how to get him looks in rhythm.
The buzz on… the bench. While it seemed a foregone conclusion that putting Anderson in a reserve role would significantly boost the second unit, there have been many positive stories elsewhere among the backups. Roberts experienced a welcome-to-the-NBA moment Friday by totaling 16 points and eight assists, showing some of the reasons behind why he was invited to training camp. Jason Smith has battled injury since preseason but has been a reliable spark in the frontcourt in scoring and rebounding. Roger Mason has been given crunch-time minutes in previous games, based on his veteran experience and shooting ability. “It’s huge to have a great bench, and we have guys who know the game really well that are coming off the bench,” Anderson said. “We also have young guys playing well. Darius (Miller) has proved to be a very consistent player, and of course we have Roger and Jason, guys who have experience in the NBA. That’s really big for this team. The second unit a lot of times is a group that can kind of force the momentum of the game. The starters aren’t going to start out the game great every night. But the bench really has to come out and be ready to go every night.”