I don't want to make too much of the performance Marcus Thornton put on Monday night, but with no game recap, I think we are totally understating the significance of what he achieved. So let's do a nice little flashback and savor the end of the Clippers game.
I just watched the replay starting late in the third quarter with the Kings down nine. They closed the quarter on a 6-2 run, with Thornton making a couple of shots. Then comes the fourth. Wow.
Here are the Kings possessions in the fourth quarter:
* Omri misses a three-pointer. Dalembert misses a tip. Dalembert offensive board. Omri turnover.
* THORNTON JUMPER GOOD from 19 feet left side of free throw line extended.
* Dalembert misses a fadeaway.
* Omri fouled at the hoop on the break after a pass by Thornton. Omri makes the first, misses the second.
* THORNTON schools Mo Williams on a reverse layup on a postup. Assist from Beno. And 1. Thornton converts the three-point play.
* THORNTON makes an 11-foot crossover runner.
* Dalembert turnover.
* THORNTON makes an 8-foot hook off a postup.
* Thornton heat-check three ball goes in and out.
* Cousins misses a short shot after a pass from Thornton.
* OMRI gets a left-handed jam on the break off a beautiful feed by Beno.
* Beno gets free on one of his patented spin moves, but misses the chip-shot layup.
* BENO, left at the top of the key, calmly drains a 3.
* Thornton gets a steal, runs the break, passes to BENO for a pullup basket on the right side from 11 feet
* Cousins blocks Kaman's shot, taps the ball to Thornton, who leads the break and tosses a beautiful alley oop for the OMRI JAM. I rewound that play about 10 times starting with the Cousins block, and it looked great every time.
* Casspi steal, Thornton misses a 17-footer.
* Dalembert gets the ball high post, passes to Casspi who is double-teamed and has the ball stripped.
* THORNTON does the 1-4 flat, takes it down the middle and misses, but is fouled. He misses the first one, makes the second one.
* Casspi fouls DeAndre Jordan, who misses both free throws.
* Cousins spin move, travels.
* Jordan, fouled by Cousins, misses two more FTs.
* Cousins shot is blocked, Dalembert misses a short putback from the middle of the key, the ball bounces into the backcourt where Casspi retrieves it for a fresh 24, Cousins runs over Griffin for a charge.
* After Mo Williams makes a three to bring the Clippers to within one at 98-97, Thornton does the 1-4 again, drives and is fouled while trying to pass to Cousins. He makes both free throws.
* Cousins gets a defensive board, is fouled, misses the first and makes the second.
* Thornton rebounds Mo Williams miss, is fouled , drains both free throws.
* Thornton is fouled again, makes both FTs, the Clips miss and it's the ball game.
So Thornton scored 16 of the Kings' 27 points on 4 of 6 shooting in the fourth quarter and scored 20 of the team's last 33 points. He also got two assists and made nine of 11 free throws in the fourth, seven of those in the last 31 seconds.
I don't know if 29 points is good enough for the best home debut at Arco, but my guess it ranks pretty close if it isn't Numero Uno. As I noted in one of the game threads, Kevin Martin for Marcus Thornton and more than $30 million doesn't look too shabby about now.
Omri made five points on two fast break jams and a free throw off a break.Beno made two of three shots for five points and Cousins made a free throw.
Cousins missed a couple of shots and committed two turnovers in the quarter and Dalembert missed three shots and also had two turnovers. But they both came up big on defense.
The team looked really good when they got into transition off of turnovers or when they got Thornton the ball and let him go to work, or when they ran decent offense and Beno got shots he can make. They looked ragged when Cousins or Dalembert touched the ball.
I think our guard play looks pretty solid. I think Taylor is also playing well and Beno is solid. Our front line needs to step it up on offense, but as long as they understand that they can contribute with defense and rebounding as well, we're going to be OK.
I am looking for 8-12 wins in their last 24 games, meaning they would close the season with 23-27 wins, or pretty close to last year's performance. I am just as interested to see what kind of home attendance we can muster up, and I hope to make 2-3 of those final 10 homes games.