Bench is providing a big boost

Pacers reserves have been performing especially well lately, but also for the season, ranking third in scoring in the NBA.

Since guard Rodney Stuckey had his wish granted to come off the bench, the Indiana Pacers’ reserves have provided a noticeable scoring boost.

In the last seven games since the switch, Pacers substitutes have outscored the opposing bench players by an average of 46-36. Indiana is 6-1 in those games.

The Pacers’ bench is averaging 41.1 points per game, which ranks third in the NBA, a 19.6-rebound average leads the league and 8.6 assists per game ranks fifth.

Last season, the Pacers ranked 28th in bench scoring at 25 points per game.

Stuckey has scored a season-high 30 points in two of the recent games and is averaging 17 points during the seven-game stretch.

“Just moving the ball and coach (Frank Vogel) just tells us, ‘If you’re open, shoot. Be ready to shoot,’” Stuckey said after scoring 17 points in the Pacers’ 105-82 win over the New York Knicks Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“That’s just been our mind-set. Just attack and be aggressive and sharing the ball. We’ve been doing that well.”

Forward Luis Scola, who has been a solid sub for much of the season, has been averaging 10.7 points per game in this seven-game stretch. Scola is averaging 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds this season, a bump from last season’s 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds.

“I think it’s important every time you get a chance to get the bench involved and get a second unit that is solid and effective,” Scola said after scoring nine points, grabbing five rebounds and assisting on two baskets against New York.

“It’s a good thing because the other team is not expecting (it). Usually the starters are the ones making the first push and then you come and it’s hard (for opponents) to keep up the rhythm.”

The reserves have combined to score at least 40 points in 34 games and at least 30 points in 52 games. When the Pacers’ bench has been outscored, the team is 2-13.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.

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