The Sacramento Kings gave the Miami Heat all they could handle on Tuesday night, but ultimately they could not overcome 79 combined points from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and lost 141-129 in double overtime.
Guard Marcus Thornton led the Kings in scoring in the game with a season-high 36 points off the bench, along with three assists and two rebounds. He went 11-for-18 from the floor, making 8 of his 12 three-point attempts, over 40 total minutes.
Thornton has not started a game since the calendar turned to 2013, but he appears to be starting to adjust to a role as a primary bench scorer for Sacramento coach Keith Smart. In four games prior to Tuesday night, he scored in double-figure three times while averaging 12.8 points per game and making nearly 46 percent (11-for-24) of his three-pointers over that span. Thornton had been bothered by a right hand injury prior to the All-Star break and an ankle issue hampered him in January, so better health has to be considered a key factor in his recent production.
Thornton may be available in a lot of leagues, so now looks like the time for fantasy basketball owners to consider grabbing him if they need to add some scoring. He is not likely to offer owners much more than point production though, since he is averaging just 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game this season, so if this good scoring streak fizzles quickly Thornton will again become waiver wire fodder.
Another 36-point effort is unlikely to happen on Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic, but it is noteworthy that Thornton has averaged 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in two previous games this season against Sacramento’s Friday night opponent, the San Antonio Spurs.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.