For four games, Marcus Thornton watched as the Kings gave Jimmer Fredette a chance to win the backup shooting guard spot behind Ben McLemore.
That wasn’t easy for Thornton.
Two seasons ago, Thornton was the Kings’ leading scorer. This season, he wasn’t playing well enough to earn backup minutes. But Friday, Thornton was back on the court, and Sunday, he scored 21 points in the Kings’ 115-113 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena.
“Those four games, it was tough because I’m a competitor,” Thornton said. “But at the same time, I was looking at more what the team needs and what we needed to do better to win.”
The message to Thornton was to be aggressive against the Warriors. He did that by making 6 of 11 shots to go with three assists and a steal.
Thornton played 30 minutes, the most he’d played since logging 33 minutes and scoring 24 points in a Nov. 13 win over Brooklyn.
Asked if staying in the game to get up shots helped his shooting Sunday, Thornton repeatedly said, “Yes.”
“It feels good to stay in the game,” Thornton said. “I know what type of player I am. I need time to get going, and once I get more time, I get more comfortable and shots will start falling.”
Solid performances by Thornton could be essential to Sacramento’s success as long as he stays in the rotation. In the two wins in which Thornton has played, he has averaged 14 points on 44 percent shooting. In the nine losses in which he has appeared, he has averaged 8.6 points on 35.1 percent shooting.
Thornton claimed eighth place by himself on a 3-pointer with 1:46 left in the third. Thornton has 320 3-pointers as a King after making five of the eight he attempted Sunday.
Jason Williams is seventh with 343. Peja Stojakovic holds the Sacramento record with 1,070.
John Salmons (299) is 10th and the only other current King in the top 10.
After the Warriors’ starting lineup was introduced, the lights were dimmed for the Kings’ introductions. But the scoreboard and the other game clocks also went dark along with the lights going out.
Once the lights were restored, the officials allowed for another three minutes for players to warm up before tipoff. The Kings ended up not having pregame introductions.
The game was played without the public address system or music until the 5:24 mark of the first quarter.