José Luis Villegas /

Marcus Thornton watches during the fourth quarter of the Kings’ 99-89 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday at Sleep Train Arena. Thornton was replaced for not playing defense well enough by rookie Ben McLemore.

Postgame notes: Thornton watches most of the second half in loss to Grizzlies

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 - 7:36 am

I decided to ask Kings coach Michael Malone if Marcus Thornton playing only 17 minutes had anything to do with Memphis using Mike Miller in the backcourt.

It sounds as if it didn’t matter who was in the backcourt as Malone was not happy with Thornton’s defense – or any of the Kings’ defense in Sacramento’s 99-89 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Thornton played only six minutes in the second half and was replaced by rookie Ben McLemore.

Thornton had scored well in Rudy Gay’s absence, but only attempted two shots against the Grizzlies.

“He has to be able to adapt to the situation,” Malone said of Thornton. “With Rudy being out he got more touches, tonight he didn’t get more touches. But every player can find a way to impact the game in some shape or form if you don’t get touches.”

Malone, however, made it clear he was not singling out Thornton. He said he’d been a “hypocrite” by playing players that haven’t played defense this season.

“This isn’t about Marcus Thornton,” Malone said. “This isn’t about Isaiah (Thomas), this isn’t about Rudy (Gay), this isn’t about DeMarcus (Cousins). As a team we have to start defending at a higher level and be much more committed to it.”

*Thomas said the defensive problems are not the fault of the coaching staff:

“Nothing the coaches can do. We work on it every day. We start practice with defensive drills since August, since September we’ve been doing the same things everyday. I don’t know what it’s going to take for us to understand we’ve got to be a better defensive team for us to win any games.”

*The loss was the fifth in a row for the Kings. The Kings’ streak of games scoring at least 100 points at home ended at 13 with the loss. The Kings have lost 15 consecutive games when failing to score at least 100 points.

*Malone hopes Cousins (ankle) will be available for Friday’s game at Dallas. Cousins has missed the last four games.

*Gay (Achilles) said he “tweaked” his left foot but said he won’t miss any time.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at

Read more articles by Jason Jones

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