Although word had already begun to spread around the NBA before Feb. 23 that Marcus Thornton was a talented rookie, a 37-point eruption off the bench that night in Cleveland served notice that the LSU product may be a better second-round pick than anyone could have predicted. Prior to that game, his season-high in a game was 25 points, but he tallied 23 points in the second quarter alone on the Cavaliers home floor. That 23-point period set a Hornets franchise record for most points in a quarter.
Im probably on their scouting report now, Thornton said in an epic understatement, when asked about Wednesdays 7 p.m. home game vs. Cleveland. Im just going to be prepared for anything (the Cavaliers attempt defensively), and combat that with something different.
The rematch with the NBA-leading Cavaliers will only be Thorntons second start after Jeff Bower decided to move the 6-foot-4 shooting guard back into the first string. Thornton said he was not surprised by the change, because he had been advised that his reserve status was not permanent.
(Bower) told me awhile back that a change might come and I might be back in the starting lineup, Thornton said. I just wanted to take full advantage of it.
Bower said prior to Mondays win over Dallas that he finalized the decision to make Thornton a starter even before it was known that Chris Paul would be back in uniform. Bower had previously hesitated to start both Darren Collison and Thornton, partly because the Hornets needed Thornton to play some minutes at backup point guard whenever Collison was resting. However, Bower was concerned by how frequently the Hornets were falling behind early in games and wanted to see if changing the starting group might reverse that. New Orleans (34-38) actually again fell into a early hole against Dallas, but climbed out of it behind a 28-point effort by Thornton and quality games from fellow starters David West and Morris Peterson, along with Collison.
Thornton realizes that the Cavaliers may devote more attention to him this time, but said hes not preoccupied with his individual production, focusing more on trying to change the end result of the previous matchup with Cleveland.
That was all great and everything, Thornton said of the accolades he received after his 37-point game in Ohio. But we didnt get the (win).