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February 10, 2013
The Morning After: Thornton's chat with Smart pays off Saturday

You'd have to be oblivious to the obvious to see that Marcus Thornton hasn't exactly been thrilled with his role as sixth man this season.

Thornton led the Kings in scoring last season (18.7 points per game), but has slipped to fourth on the team this season (11.6 ppg).

During the Kings four-day break before Saturday's win over the Utah Jazz, Thornton and coach Keith Smart met to discuss Thornton's role - specifically when he entered the game as a sub.

Smart had been putting Thornton in games very late in the first quarter or to start the second quarter.

That wasn't working for Thornton, who hadn't scored 20 points since Jan. 14 and had not looked comfortable lately.

"We kind of came to an agreement (about) checking into the game in the second quarter," Thornton said. "You have to get yourself mentally prepared and you're body's not ready. So we came to a mutual agreement that I'd check into the game around 3:30, 4 (minute mark of the first quarter). I guess from here on out I'll be checking into the game around that time."

It worked Saturday. Thornton scored 24 points.

Smart indicated it wasn't as simple of changing when Thornton entered the game. He said Thornton had to shake the "me" syndrome.

But the agreement certainly was a part of that change.

"I thought that helped him," Smart said. "I said to him a couple times in practice what you put in is what you get out of it. I thought that help him. I said to him a couple times in practice what you put in is what you get out of it."

Thornton said he felt good about his shooting leading into Saturday's game. Smart noticed that, too.

"I told him (Saturday) you had a great, high-energy shootarouind," Smart said. "One that you haven't had in a while. All of that moved around from shootaround to the actual game."



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