Marcus Thornton does it again

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The Kings have very little left to play for. The season has been a disaster from the get-go, with Tyreke Evans struggling through injury all season, the team chafing at DeMarcus Cousins’ immaturity, and the coaching staff looking lost at time. But perhaps the brightest spot outside of Cousins’ play has been the emergence of Marcus Thornton since being acquired from New Orleans for Carl Landry the week of the deadline.

Thornton is averaging 21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 46% shooting since joining the Kings, finally getting the minutes he’s shown worthy of for two seasons. The result is a deadly combination of inside-outside play and a real finisher for the Kings while Evans has been out. Evans is back now, but Thornton is still the man for the Kings, as he was Sunday, scoring 28 points in the second half for the Kings to knock off the Sixers in Philadelphia, including a ridiculous long bomb to help push the Kings to a near-win in regulation (saved only by a desperation Lou Williams three).

Thornton has a natural scoring ability, he’s just one of those guys. His defense and work ethic is solid, but the question will be in regards to how he’ll perform when the book is out on him. Fortunately for him, he’ll have Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins to create a dynamic, explosive three-headed unit. The Kings may not be in Sacramento much longer, but wherever they wind up, they’ll have a possible star in the making with Thornton if he can keep up this ridiculous pace.

For the Sixers, they’ve now lost their last two and six of their last ten. They blew a huge opportunity Sunday to put some distance between themselves and the Knicks who are plummeting. Have we mentioned Andre Iguodala, their “star,” missed a key free throw late? No one beneath Chicago in the East is finishing the season well.

Luka Doncic fined $10k for kicking ball into stands (video)

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Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic got ejected a few days ago for kicking the ball into the crowd, his second technical foul of the game.

That outburst also got him fined.

NBA release:

Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić has been fined $10,000 for kicking the game ball into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Dončić was assessed his second technical foul and ejected, occurred with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter of the Mavericks’ 111-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 19

Players usually get fined $25,000 for throwing something into the stands. But sometimes, they get just a $10,000 fine for that, seemingly if it appears they didn’t intend for the object to reach the crowd.

Did Doncic mean to kick the ball as far as he did?

Who knows? But it seems he got the benefit of the doubt here.

Mike D’Antoni: Not right NBA wouldn’t allow Rockets to trade Carmelo Anthony yesterday

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The Rockets signed Kenneth Faried, importantly to them, before their game against the 76ers yesterday. With Clint Capela injured, Houston needed another big against Joel Embiid.

But the Rockets had to open a roster spot for Faried. Their clear preference was trading Carmelo Anthony. Failing that, they’d release James Nunnally.

Houston agreed to deal Anthony to the Bulls but couldn’t complete the trade because the league office was closed, as is the norm on weekends and holidays (in this case, Martin Luther King Day). So, the Rockets dropped Nunnally, eating the remaining salary on his 10-day contract, increasing their luxury-tax bill and costing him the opportunity to play for a team that could use him.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“I don’t think it’s right,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of having to terminate Nunnally. “There’s ways (the league) could have facilitated it.”

What happened to the Rockets was fair in that the rules were clear and applied equally to each team.

But I agree with D’Antoni. Games don’t stop for weekends and holidays. The league office shouldn’t, either.

Teams should have more ability to change their rosters on the fly, because games come so quickly. Halting business for weekends and holidays is antiquated. This is a global, multi-billion-dollar operation now.

The NBA can afford to employ enough people who review trades not to overwork any of them. It’d create a better product and make the sport operate more smoothly.

Stephen Curry slips and falls on wide-open fastbreak, gets ball back, air-balls 3-pointer (video)

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See, the Warriors are fallible.

Though Stephen Curry‘s mishaps coming during a blowout win undercuts the point.

Jaren Jackson Jr. bullies Nikola Mirotic with dunk on him (video)

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Yes, the Grizzlies lost to the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans by 20 last night. Results like that are why there’s thought Marc Gasol could leave Memphis.

But at least plays like this Jaren Jackson Jr. dunk on Nikola Mirotic provide hope for the Grizzlies’ future.

Jackson is a skilled 3-point shooter and rim-protector. Add a mean streak inside offensively, and the rookie could really take off.