MILWAUKEE – If you saw Marcus Thornton torching the Bucks Saturday night, and you saw the 6-4 guard step back and drain a 3 over Milwaukee’s 6-7 forward Jeff Adrien (“I kinda felt disrespected because he played so far back,’’ said Thornton.), then you may find this hard to believe:
Thornton is nervous.
Yes, this prolific scorer, who dropped 42 on the defensive-minded Indiana Pacers earlier this season, is nervous about finally playing in front of the Barclays Center crowd Monday night.
Thornton, who was acquired in a trade with the Sacramento Kings while the Nets were on their six-game road swing, has yet to play before Brooklyn Nets fans. He said he’s been getting texts from fans and friends saying how excited they are to see him in Brooklyn.
“I’m going to feel a couple of jitters but hopefully they’ll go away fast," said Thornton.
Fast is an apt word for how Thornton, 26, has meshed with the Nets. The game against the Bucks, which the Nets won, 107-98, was just his third in a Brooklyn uniform.
He led the team in scoring with 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including four of seven on 3s and five of six from the line. Thornton scored 12 of his 25 in the fourth quarter.
“He can get hot in a hurry," said point guard Deron Williams. “For some reason they kept leaving him open; don’t know why. He had a heckuva game."
It was a crucial game for the Nets (28-29). The win allowed them to post a winning record on this trip (4-2) and get within one game of .500 for the first time since Nov. 5.
Thornton is proving to be the offensive spark off the bench the Nets have been searching for. They thought they had it in Jason Terry but off-season knee surgery prevented Terry from ever showing his scoring touch.
Thornton, who was traded for Terry and forward Reggie Evans, has not been shy about shooting since joining the Nets. He left a tenuous situation in Sacramento, a losing team, for a defined role with the Nets, who have playoff aspirations.
“I knew it would be a great situation,’’ said Thornton. “It can only get better from here, man, so buckle up.”