Kings guard Marcus Thornton has not rejoined the team and will miss a third consecutive game today, head coach Keith Smart said. Thornton has been at home in Louisiana with his ill mother. Smart did not have a clear idea of when Thornton might return.
"When things settle down for him and his personal issues he's dealing with, with his family, then he'll get back to us," Smart said.
Smart and Thornton both hail from Baton Rouge, and Thornton said last year that his mother and Smart's family attend the same church. Smart said he has been in contact with Thornton and the guard is "in good spirits with everything going on. We've just got to wait. When he's ready he'll be back."
So the Kings (7-15) will take on the Denver Nuggets (12-12) without their third-leading scorer. The Nuggets and Kings rank first and fourth in the NBA, respectively, in scoring in the paint. Both teams like to run as well, though Smart said the Kings need to be smart about the shots they take today and get back in transition.
"Transition opens up a lot of their threes, the way they push the ball," he said. "Last year they came in and ran real fast in this building, so that's the No. 1 thing for us. We've got to make sure we don't take a lot of quick shots, more emphasis on ball movement tonight and body movement.
"With a quick shot, you put their point guards right at the top of the floor for a quick outlet and (they're) up the floor right away. You've got to make sure the ball is moving, players are moving, so you don't have the same alignment for an easy rebound, kick-out and fly up the floor."
-- Matt Kawahara