BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Marcus Thornton quietly fumed over his role with the Kings for months.
He was a scorer that wasn’t getting many chances to score as he became a lower priority in the Kings’ offense.
Thornton reminded his former team that he can still put up big offensive numbers with a scoring barrage that helped Brooklyn defeat the Kings 104-89 Sunday night at Barclays Center.
Thornton had a team-high 27 points in his first game against the Kings since last month’s trade that brought Reggie Evans and Jason Terry to Sacramento. He helped put the game out of reach by scoring the first 10 points for Brooklyn in the fourth quarter.
Thornton, who struggled to make shots most of the season with Sacramento, made 11 of 15, including five of his eight three-point attempts.
“Anytime you see the ball go through the net, you get confidence about yourself,” Thornton said. “I credit my teammates for finding me in spots I can be effective. And you know, my shots were going down.”
Thornton has scored at least 20 points in three of the seven games he’s played with Brooklyn.
Part of Thornton’s struggles in Sacramento came because it was hard to find shots with DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas taking the bulk of them. Thornton was put into a role of trying to be a facilitator, defender and rebounder. He also didn’t play for six games when the coaching staff played Jimmer Fredette ahead of him.
Thornton is the primary bench scorer for the Nets.
“Give Marcus credit,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “He had a great game (Sunday) and made us pay and we never really adjusted to how we should be guarding him, which is mind-boggling.”
Early exit – Brooklyn forward Paul Pierce did not finish the game because of a sore shoulder.
Pierce left the court 1:13 into the first quarter holding his right shoulder. He did so after defending Kings forward Jason Thompson.
The Nets also finished the game without Andrei Kirilenko, who left in the second half because of a sprained right ankle.
Familiar face – Jorge Gutierrez, who played for the Kings’ summer-league team in July, made his NBA debut for Brooklyn.
Gutierrez, a former Cal player, played for the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League before signing a 10-day contract with the Nets last Thursday.