Hawks in the NBA | April 10-16

Sacramento Kings forward and former Iowa All-American Keegan Murray had a tough shooting night in his NBA postseason debut against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.


Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 15, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) dribbles past Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) in the first quarter during game one of the 2023 NBA playoffs at the Golden 1 Center.

Colin Votzmeyer, Sports Reporter

Former Hawkeye All-American and current Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray can join an exclusive list of Hawkeyes achieving success in the NBA playoffs.

The third-seeded Kings commenced their first postseason appearance since 2006 with Game 1 against the sixth-seeded and defending champion Golden State Warriors on April 15 at their home arena, the Golden 1 Center.

The Kings came out on top, 126-123, to take a 1-0 series lead. The Kings need three more wins to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Murray has the opportunity to follow the likes of former Hawkeyes BJ Armstrong — who won three rings with Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s — and Don Nelson — who captured five with Bill Russell in the 1960s-‘70s with the Boston Celtics.

Murray started in his first playoff appearance, as he has for the Kings all season, but he only played 16 minutes. He spent them running the floor hard when his teammates secured defensive rebounds, spotting up in the left corner and looking for three-point shots.

But he struggled to make them. Murray shot 1-for-5 from the field and 0-for-3 from deep despite breaking the all-time record for three-pointers made by a rookie in a season earlier this year.

His only score came when he crashed the offensive glass for a tip-in layup after teammate Kevin Huerter missed a jump shot. Murray finished with four rebounds in the game.

Murray led the league in points per possession against a zone defense in the regular season with 1.60, according to NBA University.

Unfortunately for the Kings, the Warriors played a man-to-man defense, leaving the Warriors’ playoff-experienced shooting guard Klay Thompson smothering Murray for much of the game.

The Kings and Warriors will rematch at Golden 1 Center for Game 2 on Monday.

Other Hawkeyes

The Minnesota Timberwolves captured a playoff berth with a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the final play-in game on April 14 at the Target Center. Former national college player of the year Luka Garza was present for the game but did not dress or see any game action.

As an eighth seed, the Timberwolves began their postseason play against the top-seeded Denver Nuggets on April 16, falling, 109-80, with Garza again not seeing the floor. The two teams will rematch for Game 2 on Wednesday.

Former Hawkeye Joe Wieskamp and his current squad, the Toronto Raptors, entered the play-in tournament with the ninth seed but ended their postseason early in a loss to the Chicago Bulls on April 12. Wieskamp did not play.