Orlando Magic forward Glen Davis remembers watching Kings guard Marcus Thornton play at Tara High School in Baton Rouge, La., where both grew up.
Davis also remembers that when Thornton returned to the area to play at LSU after two community college seasons in Texas, it was like watching a different guy.
"When he left to go to (Kilgore College), I never imagined he could grow into the player he is now," Davis said before Friday night's game. "I knew he was always good, but he just went to a whole other level."
Davis also played at LSU, where he was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 2006, and left for the NBA draft in 2007. Thornton joined the program that fall and was named SEC Player of the Year in 2009.
Davis, who went to high school at Louisiana State University Laboratory School, said both also passed through the Sports Academy, a Baton Rouge facility popular with youth basketball players.
Settled into a starting role in his second year with the Magic, after five NBA seasons primarily as a backup, Davis entered Friday's game averaging a career-high 15.9 points and 8.4 rebounds.
Thornton's role has gone the opposite route, as the Kings have mostly brought him off the bench as their sixth man a year after he averaged a career-high 18.7 points while starting all 51 games for Sacramento.
Thornton was averaging 14.4 points, third-highest on the team, entering the game.
"Me knowing him, knowing what type of player he is and what he's capable of doing, when you put the most belief and faith in him, he does so much better," Davis said. "Him coming off the bench, it's different, especially from last year when he was the leading scorer. It has to be different for him.
"But it's still early. He's got to get used to it right now because it's the best thing for the team right now as far as what the coach wants him to do."
Hack-a-rule? – Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard had attempted 211 free throws before Friday, with some teams treating the 46.9 percent free-throw shooter to the same kind of "hack-a-Dwight" strategy formerly reserved for Shaquille O'Neal.
According to ESPN's TrueHoop blog, that prompted Commissioner David Stern to address the topic of intentionally fouling players during the TV broadcast of the Lakers-Hornets game Wednesday.
A current rule states that in the last two minutes of a game, fouling a player away from the ball results in both free throws and possession for the fouled team. Stern reportedly said he had wanted to apply the rule to the entire game.
Kings coach Keith Smart said he used the tactic just once this season, against the Lakers on Nov. 11, when Howard made 7 of 13 free throws in the Kings' 103-90 loss.
"Is it fair for the player? Is it fair for the team, the league, what have you?" Smart said. "But in competition, nothing really is fair, you know, so you try to get that win any way you can."