Marcus Thornton plays with heavy heart to break out of December slump
The outcome of last night’s 131-127 barnburner at Sleep Train Arena couldn’t have come at a better time for Marcus Thornton. Playing with a heavy heart and the weight of early struggles on his back, the Kings guard put together one of his best performances of the season.
Last night, Thornton came off the bench to be one of seven Kings players to score in double figures. He finished with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting and 5-of-10 from 3-point land. He scored 17 of those points when his team needed him most – in the second half.
“I came in the gym late last night and got a lot of conditioning in and got my wind back,” the Kings sixth man said after yesterday’s scintillating performance. “I actually felt good out there, so it was easy.
“But the mental part,” Thornton said then paused. “I had a long week.”
Thornton had missed the previous four games to be with his ailing mother. Understandably, he didn’t go into detail when asked about what health difficulties she’s currently facing. Sometimes, personal issues like this are better left alone considering the gravity of the situation.
Yesterday’s game broke a slump for Thornton, who had been struggling for much of December. In his previous four contests, the Kings’ leading scorer from a year ago was averaging just six points and shooting an alarming 24.1 percent from the field – roughly 20-percentage points lower than his career average.
“I couldn’t really talk about it and say why I was struggling,” Thornton said in earnest after last night’s game. “But you know it was a lot. My mom has been there for me all my life. Her getting sick was a big thing for me.
“I was really just spaced out,” he added. “Really ain’t care too much about anything but her health. But now that she’s doing better, I can get back to doing what I love to do.”
Thornton said he spoke with his mother before yesterday’s game. And her presence, though only over the phone, was enough to give him a much-needed boost.
“To be able to hear her voice a day after surgery, her calling me and still in good spirits shows me how much of a warrior she is,” Thornton said emotionally. “So I had to go out there and play for her tonight.”