They did much more than that, helping erase a 15-point deficit and sent the Warriors on their way to another win.
Dorell Wright and David Lee added 16 points apiece, and Stephen Curry had 14 and eight assists for the Warriors, who have won six of eight games. While the bulk of the points came from the starters it was the defense and energy from the bench players that turned the game around for Golden State.
"The bench won the game for us tonight, without a question," Smart said. "Those guys came in when we needed something. They gave us an incredible boost."
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The Warriors turned a 15-point first-quarter deficit into a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Golden State began the turnaround with little-used backup guards Charlie Bell and Jeremy Lin in the game in the second quarter with Ellis and Curry sitting in foul trouble.
"Those guys really stepped up and got us through that tough stretch and we were able to take control of the game," Curry said.
The Warriors head into their final game before the All-Star break Wednesday night in Utah playing their best basketball of the season, with five of the wins in this current stretch coming against teams with winning records.
Golden State has done it on the defensive end for a change, holding the opposition to under 100 points in five of their past six wins.
The Hornets have been going the opposite direction, losing eight of 10 games as they struggle without injured center Emeka Okafor.
"I don't believe in excuses and I don't believe in rescues," coach Monty Williams said. "If guys want to keep their job, they're going to have to learn how to play in tough times like this."
Radmanovich made two 3-pointers to start the comeback and then Ellis came back in and capped a 15-3 run with a 3-pointer that gave the Warriors their first lead at 47-46. Golden State increased the advantage to 58-53 at the half and then started to pull away in the third quarter.
Curry hit back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a 19-6 run that gave Golden State a 79-67 on a 3-pointer from Wright. Curry added another 3-pointer late in the quarter to make it 83-71 heading into the fourth.
A three-point play by Lee and breakaway dunk by Reggie Williams helped increase the lead to 91-72 early in the fourth and the Warriors cruised from there.
"It's all been about effort," Lee said. "I thought we controlled the paint, didn't give them that many easy buckets tonight and our defense in the second half took off."
The turnaround was possible as much for Golden State's usual prowess on long-range shots as it was the defense against Paul, who missed his final eight shots. Paul finished with 11 points and 10 assists.
"They were all easy shots, shots that I should have made," Paul said. "It was nothing they did."
Former Warrior Marco Belinelli and David West each scored 15 points to lead the Hornets.
This game was emblematic of the problems the Hornets have had since leaving here Jan. 26 with a 10-game winning streak. New Orleans has won just twice in 10 games since then with Williams saying the downfall started late in that final win in the streak.
"We just haven't had enough consistent play," West said. "We haven't been able to play at a high enough level to beat even teams that aren't in the playoff race. We just haven't been able to play at a high enough level to win those games."
Williams hoped a return to Oracle Arena would get his team back to playing the way it did during that January run. It looked as though his wish would come true at the start of the game as the Hornets made 11 of their first 13 shots from the field as they broke out to a 32-17 late in the first quarter.
Paul was in the middle of it all by hitting his first four shots and handing out five assists, including the pass that set up a 3-pointer by Belinelli that capped the 9-0 run to give New Orleans a 15-point lead.
- Curry made one free throw, extending his consecutive make streak to 40.
- The Hornets hope to have Okafor back from a strained muscle in his side after the All-Star break.