On a night when the starters could not wake up, Hornets head coach James Borrego turned to his youngsters off the bench for defense and energy. He got just the kind of result he was hoping for.
Thanks to a bench unit that scored 60 of the team’s 114 points, the Hornets were able to pick up their
second straight victory, a 114-95 win over the Sacramento Kings Thursday at the Spectrum Center.
The keys to the victory came from forwards Miles Bridges and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who each scored 15 points for the Hornets. In all, four reserves scored in double figures for Charlotte.
“I thought they were making some progress in the last Sacramento game,” Borrego said of his second unit. “I thought they helped us with their energy.
“In San Antonio, I thought they had a good effort,” he added. “This was probably their best effort out of the three games.”
“Well obviously for the bench we haven’t been playing as well as we can,” Bridges said afterwards. “So today we really wanted to come out and be physical, be aggressive on offense and defense.”
Along with Bridges and MKG, Willy Hernangomez had 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds off the bench. And Tony Parker, hardly a part of the Hornets’ youth movement, nonetheless contributed 14 points in 18 minutes for the Hornets, now 21-23 on the season. The 60 points from the Hornets’ reserves more than doubled their output in Monday’s victory over the Spurs in San Antonio, where Charlotte’s second unit managed just 29 points and not a single player in
double figures in scoring.
The Hornets didn’t need the bench production to defeat the Spurs on Monday, but when the Kings went up by 13 points early in the second quarter, it was the bench that brought them back. Kidd-Gilchrist had 9 points and Parker added 8 as the Hornets outscored the Kings 43-25 in the second period to take a 13- point lead of their own into the locker room, 63-50.
“We got off to a poor start and that’s on all five starters, but the bench was tremendous tonight,” Hornets forward Marvin Williams said. “They really came in and gave us a boost on both ends.”
With the victory, the Hornets have set themselves up to achieve something on Saturday they’ve only managed once this season, a winning streak longer than two games. Coming off a 2-4 road trip, the Hornets take on the Suns Saturday night and could use a victory, considering what lies ahead of them the rest of this month.
Following Saturday’s game, the Hornets go on the road and take on the Pacers, Grizzlies and Bucks. They then host the Knicks, a team that has already beaten the Hornets in Charlotte this season, before closing the month at Boston.