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Clips’ Thornwell aims to improve aim

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By Greg Summers

LAS VEGAS – In his rookie NBA campaign, Lancaster native Sindarius Thornwell was counted on as a defensive stopper for the Los Angeles Clippers, guarding the likes of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Paul George.

But he’s now aiming to improve his shooting aim through a second year of NBA Summer League play. And so far, it seems to be working.

“The game is slower for me,” Thornwell told the Orange County Chronicle. “Last year, I was here just playing, just trying to prove myself. I was just going hard. Now, the game is slower, so I can think it more. 

“I can be more of a leader now because I know what to expect, I know how to play. I know how to play an NBA game,” he said. 

The former University of South Carolina basketball guard has averaged 17.7 points per game for the 1-2 Clippers in summer play. 

Thornwell notched 13 points, three rebounds, two steals and an assist in a 104-90 loss to the Houston on Monday, thanks to a 22-3 torrid Rockets’ run in the late third and early fourth quarters, while he was on the bench.  

Thornwell scored 22 points on 7-for-12 shooting with six rebounds and a team-leading four assists in an 88-78 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night. 

He also had 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting with seven rebounds and two assists in a 77-71 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

In the offseason, the defensive specialist has worked on his body and his trey to put himself in a position for more floor time. 

As a rookie last season, Thornwell averaged just 3.9 points on 42.9 percent shooting, including 37.7 percent from 3-point range.

The goal, he said, is to take his high-energy defensive game to a higher, consistent level of offense that’s needed to play in the NBA.

“I spent a lot of time toning my body and trying to lose some weight and slim down,” he said. “Tone it up and slim it down a little bit, and just be able to knock down the 3 consistently.”

Summer league single elimination play is set to start today. 

The Clippers’ next game is either today or Friday.

Follow reporter Greg Summers on Twitter @GregSummersTLN or contact him at (803) 283-1156.