The bench, meanwhile, was again brilliant, scoring 40 points with Reggie Jackson leading the way. The all-reserve second unit stretched an eight-point lead in the final 3 1/2 minutes of the first quarter into a 13-point margin by the time regulars began re-entering midway through the second period.
Jackson poured in 12 of his 18 points during that stretch, scoring on an array of pullups, floaters and finger rolls. He netted eight straight in a 3 1/2-minute stretch.
“We were confident coming into the year, and we had a lot of faith in our guys,” said Nick Collison. “But it is nice to see us playing well this early with some new guys in there, particularly our second unit.”
Collison said the key to the team’s success in spite of injuries and roster turnover has been having faith in new players to step in and expecting them to produce.
“Those guys have really worked hard and filled in nicely,” Collison said. “And our guys who have been here for a while, we’ve seen growth with them, too. We’re making better decisions … We’re just a little bit more mature, and I think you see that with our mindset coming into games.”