By Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 24, 2010; D02
Blog excerpt from washingtonpost.com/wizardsinsider
While most players in the Washington Wizards locker room were either congratulating one another, getting dressed or a combination of both after a 101-95 victory over Chicago at Verizon Center on Monday night, Al Thornton was trying to get comfortable while slumped back in the chair in front of his locker.
Nearly 30 minutes of playing time had taxed the 6-foot-8 forward to the point where his knees were wrapped in ace bandages over ice packs. Then Thornton, one of the Wizards' newest players, politely requested from a team staff member an ice bucket for both of his feet.
"Sore," Thornton said when asked how he was feeling. "I'm not used to these minutes, but I'm excited."
Thornton did manage a broad smile as he and Quinton Ross, another recent acquisition, went over the final stat sheet. It showed 17 points in nearly 30 minutes for Thornton, who landed in Washington after a recent trade reshaped the roster. The change of scenery also has given Thornton another chance at reaching the potential the Los Angeles Clippers coveted when they selected him 14th overall in 2007.
Thornton's playing time had been decreasing with the Clippers leading up to his trade. Over his last six games with Los Angeles, he averaged 17.5 minutes. In three games with the Wizards, Thornton has averaged more than 30 minutes.
Against the Bulls, Thornton had a critical basket to keep the Wizards ahead as Chicago was rallying late. The Bulls had trimmed the deficit to 96-95 with 1 minute 55 seconds to play when Thornton, seconds later, got a seven-foot turnaround jumper to fall.
"My thing is to come out every night and play hard," said Thornton, who has scored in double figures in three straight games, including 21 points and a career-high four blocks in his Wizards debut on Friday in a 107-97 win against Denver.
"Like I said, that's what Coach [Flip Saunders] has been preaching around here. If we come out and play hard and compete and give ourselves a chance to win at the end of the game, good things happen."