Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

April 19, 2012
Smart: Thornton's status for Friday not yet determined

Kings guard Marcus Thornton did not practice with the team today after suffering a left quad contusion in the third quarter of the Kings' loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

"It was too tender for him to practice today, so he didn't go today," said Kings head coach Keith Smart.

Thornton was kneed by Spurs guard Manu Ginobili and left Wednesday night's game briefly, but returned. Smart said Thornton was getting treatment to reduce swelling in the quad Thursday and that his availability for the Kings' game tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder has not been determined.

"We'll see how he feels in the morning and then evaluate him by the time we get ready for the shootaround and then game-time," Smart said.

It wouldn't help the Kings to lose Thornton against the Thunder. The Kings are 1-10 this season in the 11 games Thornton has missed.

-- The Kings' practice today was a spirited one, with a lot of shouting toward the end of the session. Smart had the Kings play out some late-game situations and said he added a wrinkle with a no-dribble rule.

"This way you get that competitive nature back in a situation being up by five, down by three, minute to go in the game, and you play those situations," Smart said. "It was really live today."

-- Beginning Friday night the Kings play the Thunder twice in five days. Smart said that's good for the Kings, who "know we're going to get the best from those guys." The Thunder are still jockeying for the top spot in the Western Conference with the Spurs -- they're currently a half-game behind San Antonio.

"They're not going to take any mercy on our team, which is what you want," Smart said. "You want them to be their aggressive self."

-- Smart spent about a minute and a half responding to a question about Tyreke Evans, who said after last night's loss to the Spurs that he might not be playing as aggressively as he should. Evans had five points against the Spurs, days after scoring two points against the Thunder on April 13. Here's Smart on Evans:

"The teams that we've played, what they do defensively, has a lot to do with that, where the player maybe can't get to his strength. And the strength as we know is getting to the basket.

"You see teams are loading up in the paint for him, inviting him to be a jump-shooter. Now, he's going to get better at all those things, but when you can't get to your strength, you're going to probably struggle in a game for the most part. But there's other things he's forgetting that he can do.

"He can still rebound, he can still defend. But young players and players in general always tie their worth to their scoring output and not say, you know what, I'm going to get 10 assists today, I'm going to get 10 rebounds. Maybe that opens things up. Maybe I can go to the offensive glass and get a couple points that way, and get to the free-throw line here and there.

"That's a process that he has to work through. This is a brand-new shift for him, trying to get him to be a better player in the role that he's in, and he's going to get there. I believe he's going to get there and it's going to be a better thing for him coming back next year."



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