PORTLAND, Ore. Francisco Garcia's role ranges from starter to not playing at all.
That the veteran is able to handle that has made coach Keith Smart's job a little easier.
Garcia started his second consecutive game Saturday night when the Kings played the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden.
Garcia started for Tyreke Evans, who missed the game with a sore left knee.
Smart said regardless of the playing time he receives, Garcia's confidence does not waver.
"He's established already," Smart said. "He's already paid his dues to NBA society. He's already focused on what he has to do in the NBA. It's not a big threat if he doesn't play."
Smart could have gone with Marcus Thornton to start for Evans, but he likes Thornton coming off the bench.
Smart said Garcia's shooting command and defensive ability are positives when he's on the floor.
Garcia didn't know he was going to start until there was less than an hour before tipoff Friday against Orlando. Smart said Garcia has the mindset to be thrown into a situation with no problem.
"Overall, he's always ready," Smart said. "The guy always works."
In reserve Thornton is the Kings' primary option on offense off the bench, but in wins over Toronto and Orlando, Thornton had eight total points on 2 of 14 shooting.
It was the first time Thornton posted single-digit scoring in consecutive games.
"Marcus is a very streaky guy, and sometimes with that streak you don't know when it's going to come," Smart said. "Also, he's a game-plan guy. I've coached against him, and he was a game-plan guy whether he was starting or coming off the bench."
Smart said Thornton is improving at not allowing his struggles on offense to affect his defense. Smart was able to use Thornton in the Orlando win even though he wasn't shooting well because he was active defensively.
"He's kind of a combination of both," Smart said. "Like any guy, when your shot's not falling, you have a tendency to fall off a little bit (on defense)."
Travel time Saturday's game was the first of a four-game trip. It's the longest since the Kings opened the season with three games on the road.
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