Wiz conclude road trip as Thornton returns "home"
Wizards (21-46) at Lakers (51-18)
Wizards starters: Shaun Livingston, Mike Miller, Al Thornton, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee
Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Line: Lakers by 12.5
Al Thornton said it felt "weird" to be back in Los Angeles, where he spent the first 2 ½ years of his career with the Clippers before he was traded to the Wizards on Feb. 17. Thornton still has a residence near the Clippers' training facility and he eschewed the team hotel to sleep in his "crib." But he had a problem when he woke up in his own bed on Saturday.
"I live right down the street from the Clippers' facility. So I woke up, like, 'I got practice?' " Thornton said with a laugh.
Thornton said he drove by the Clippers' facility and spoke with members of the team staff when he arrived on Sunday. The Clippers lost to the Sacramento Kings in the first part of a Staples Center doubleheader earlier in the afternoon. Although he stayed home, Thornton took the team bus over with the Wizards.
"It feels good to be back here. It's like a second home to me," he said. "A lot of emotions. I was brought in here, my rookie year. I spent a lot of time here. This was my stomping grounds. I spent every other day here. So, yeah, it feels weird to be in the visitors' locker room."
Flip Saunders didn't intend to wear Lakers colors on Sunday, but he arrived at Staples Center wearing a purple and gold tie. Several people informed Saunders of his accessory choice, and he finally said it was part of his plan to distract the Lakers. "I'm trying to screw them up a little bit," Saunders said. "I'm trying to dazzle them a little bit. They won't know who is telling them what to do."
But the Lakers usually get direction from an older, white-haired gentleman in a cushy, padded seat. So, Saunders wasn't expecting the Lakers to confuse him for Phil Jackson was he? "Not really."
Saunders said the Wizards concern him in one area. They have struggled to score. The Wizards have only topped 90 points twice during this 10-game losing streak. And, despite giving the team the day off on Saturday and canceling shootaround, Andray Blatche is still a bit hobbled with his sprained left ankle.
"Our big concern coming into tonight is, 'Do we have the ability to score?' " Saunders said. "Dray is not going to be 100 percent, so when he's not 100 percent, you're always in a situation where you have to manufacture points."
Saunders said he would look to use Foye more as a scoring guard than a point guard. "Playing off the ball, we put him in a situation where we wanted to play him - look to score, don't look to facilitate the offense," he said. "He's more of a direction-oriented player, when he doesn't have to set other guys up, he's got more of an ability to try to score. So, we'll try to get him in those situations as much as I can."
And, without the need for further review, Saunders is adamant that Portland's Brandon Roy really did travel on his game-winning jumper on Friday night. "Yeah. I called it right then," he said. "It's impossible for a guy to stop and do that. You can't step and then change pivot feet. Those are the things that happen, when you're a team that's struggling."
March 21, 2010; 9:20 PM ET
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