Hawks in the NBA | March 20-26

Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray hit his offensive stride in the NBA while Iowa Wolves center Luka Garza scored a career-high in the G League season finale.


Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY

Feb 19, 2023; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Team Luka center Luka Garza (55) reacts after receiving the MVP award against Team Scoot during the second half at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Colin Votzmeyer, Sports Reporter

Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray found his offensive footing this week despite the team’s minor skid in the home stretch of the NBA regular season.

The Kings dropped the first two out of their four games this week and fell to third in the Western Conference with a 45-29 record, replaced by the Memphis Grizzlies in the second seed. The Kings have eight regular season games left.

But Murray is hitting his offensive stride in the final playoff push.

Murray gave a pair of 22-point performances this week in a loss to the Utah Jazz on March 20 and a rematch win on March 25, shooting 8-for-16 and 8-for-15 from the field, respectively.

He maintained his season of hot shooting beyond the arc too, shooting a combined 18-for-40 from deep this week, good for a 45 percent clip.

Murray also scored 15 points on 6-for-14 from the field in a 132-109 loss to the Boston Celtics on March 21 and 13 points on 5-for-7 from the field in a 135-127 win over the Phoenix Suns on March 24.

Toronto Raptors guard Joe Wieskamp missed the team’s last three games with a right hamstring injury.

Garza grabs career-high

Three-time All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves lineup against the Atlanta Hawks on March 22 after missing time with a calf strain.

In turn, two-way center and former Hawkeye standout Luka Garza may have trouble finding a consistent spot in the Timberwolves’ main rotation behind Towns and fellow centers Rudy Gobert and Naz Reid.

Even so, Garza proved his worth down low in the G League’s final two games of the season. He recorded a career-high 47 points on 19-of-26 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Iowa Wolves’ March 25 loss to the Lakeland Magic.

That scoring performance overshadows Garza’s big role in the Wolves’ 20-point comeback win against the Birmingham Squadron on March 22. In 35 minutes of play, he scored 29 points on 11-for-15 from the field, snagged eight rebounds, and dished out seven assists.

G League

In the March 22 win, Wolves guard and former Hawkeye Jordan Bohannon joined Garza, scoring 15 points on 5-for-9 from the field — all 3-pointers — in 27 minutes of play. In the March 25 win, Bohannon netted six points.

Salt Lake City Stars center Tyler Cook wrapped up his season with two wins over the Austin Spurs on March 21 and 23.

In the first match, Cook scored 12 points on 4-of-4 from the field with seven rebounds and five assists but four turnovers. In the rematch, Cook scored nine points with eight rebounds and four assists despite another five turnovers.

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