Hornets win at the Hive Tuesday night 97-89 versus the Wizards. Power Forward Jason Smith started at Center for New Orleans in replacement of the injured Emeka Okafor. Smith was solid, scoring a career high 20 points in 25 minutes of play. Here is more from the AP and espn.com.

"It was a special game, a career night for me," said Smith, who started because of Emeka Okafor's left oblique muscle strain.

"Mek is such a great player and he plays around the rim," Smith said. "I just went out there and tried to play aggressive like he would. We really need him back healthy, but in the meantime we have a lot of guys that are willing to step up."

Chris Paul had 15 points and nine assists and Trevor Ariza had 16 points for New Orleans, which snapped a two-game skid.

While Okafor's injury left the Hornets without a starter averaging a double-double in points and rebounds, the 7-foot Smith looked comfortable filling in and hit his first nine shots on an array of dunks, tip-ins and jump shots from as far as 18 feet.


Smith and David West are both bigs that can put the ball on the floor, and hit mid-range jumpers. The Wizards didn't adjust, and Smith made the most of his opportunity. This evening will be more difficult. The Hornets hit the road for snowy Oklahoma City to battle the Thunder tonight. Tip-off is set for 7:00.