Just a quick hit here from this morning's shootaround ...
First things first, the Kings' chances of reaching the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 4, 2006 have gone up drastically with news that Steve Nash, Matt Barnes and Leandro Barbosa will not play tonight. Barbosa's mother passed away and he has headed for his homeland of Brazil, while Nash and Barnes were suspended in relation to their skirmish with Houston on Wednesday night.
"I don't even think about (the Suns' absences) because it becomes very scary," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "I always look at it the other way. I see the other guys feeling that they have to step up...that it's all on their shoulders now. If we have the wrong mindset...
"They've still got Shaq (O'Neal), they've still got (Boris) Diaw, they've still got Raja (Bell), all good players. Amare (Stoudemire) is very capable of getting huge numbers."
Theus said he anticipates Suns coach Terry Porter relying on Bell to bring the ball up the floor.
"This team has beaten us quite a bit in the past few years (nine of last 10 meetings)," Theus said. "This is an opportunity to not only get to .500, but to keep what we're doing rolling and keep getting better."
On another note, Theus responded for the first time since he was levied a hefty $25,000 fine for his comments following Tuesday's loss to Detroit (the Kings also have to pay $25,000 for his actions).
"Listen, I'm one of the lowest paid coaches in the league so that's a pretty serious (financial) number for me," he said. "But at the same time, I think it's a standard thing. It's unfortunate, but I've already moved on."
Theus was asked if he anticipated the punishment after making his comments.
"No, I absolutely didn't think they were inflammatory, but that's OK," he said. "I just have to keep moving on." - Sam Amick