Pacific Notes: Kings, Huerter, Kawhi, Powell, Durant

The Kings clinched a winning record on Thursday for the first time in 16 seasons, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. While it’s certainly an accomplishment given all the losing the franchise has endured since 2005/06, the team has its sights set on loftier goals.

“I don’t think anybody on our team was coming into the season like, ‘We want a winning record,'” point guard De’Aaron Fox said. “But I think it’s good. I think it’s good for the franchise, it’s good for the city, it’s good for the fan base to finally get that out of the way.

“But, for us, we know that we still want to do bigger things.”

Sacramento has gone 10-2 since the All-Star break, holding the NBA’s best record during that span. At 42-27, the Kings are currently the No. 2 seed in the West and have the league’s top offense. With so many teams in their conference looking relatively weak, and the Kings on the verge of snapping another record-long streak (playoff drought), could a deep postseason run be on the horizon?

I do feel that that group believes in themselves,” head coach Mike Brown said, per Bontemps. “Not just because I’m telling them they’re good, but because they’ve gone out and proven it time after time after time, whether it’s individually in certain situations, or collectively as a team. When you have a team that believes, they can be dangerous. When you’ve got a collected team that believes, that can be a very dangerous team. That’s what our group is right now.”

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Kings shooting guard Kevin Huerter is questionable for Saturday’s game in Washington, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. It was initially believed that Huerter sustained a mild hamstring injury on Thursday, but the team actually referred to it as mild strain of the popliteus muscle. As Anderson writes, the popliteus is located behind the knee and helps protect the lateral meniscus as well as providing stability to the joint. Huerter is considered day-to-day with the injury.
  • Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Orlando due to right knee injury management, tweets Mark Medina of It’s the first of a back-to-back, and the Clippers‘ star forward has yet to play in back-to-back games this season. There’s a good chance he’ll suit up on Sunday in Portland.
  • Clippers guard Norman Powell continues to be sidelined with a left shoulder subluxation. He was unable to practice on Friday and will miss his sixth straight game on Saturday, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “He’s going to be out for a little bit longer,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “… He’s out.”
  • Suns star Kevin Durant was able to get some shots up during Thursday’s shootaround, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. However, the 34-year-old forward will still be out at least two more weeks, which is when he’ll be reevaluated. “It’s just part of his progression,” head coach Monty Williams said. “He hasn’t done anything outside of that. We obviously have to not just be careful, but a lot of boxes need to be checked.”
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