The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawks in the NBA | Nov. 6-12

Luka Garza and Kris Murray dominated the first week of the NBA G League season while Keegan Murray provided all-around consistency.
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) dunks against the Houston Rockets during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray continues to provide value in other areas of the game while amid a shooting slump.

The second-year star finished with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 2-of-6 from three in Sacramento’s 122-97 blowout loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday. He also finished with five rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 28 minutes of play.

Though Murray did struggle shooting the ball, the team struggled as a unit, shooting just 44 percent from the field, 35 percent from three, and 55 percent on free throws.

Murray’s struggles would continue in Wednesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers as the sharpshooter scored just nine points on 4-of-17 shooting and 1-of-six from three in 31 minutes. But the 6-foot-8, 225-pounder’s versatility proved to be pivotal as he marked seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks in the 121-118 crunch time win. He also led the Kings in plus-minus with eight.

But Murray turned around and played his best game of the week in Friday’s 105-98 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In a game-high 40 minutes played, the forward put up a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds.

And Murray provided the highlight of the season for the Kings in this game.

With just over a minute to go in the second quarter, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft caught the ball on the right wing, drove right past his defender with a beautiful triple jab, and threw down an emphatic dunk over the No. 2 overall pick in that draft in now-Rookie of the Year contender Chet Holmgren.

The shooting struggles were absent in this game as Murray shot 8-for-17 from the field, 3-of-10 from three, and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He also tallied an assist, a block, and three steals in another all-around performance.

Kris Murray

Portland Trail Blazers forward Kris Murray had a busy week going back-and-forth from the Portland Trail Blazers to their G League affiliate Rip City Remix.

The rookie forward began his four-game slate Wednesday with the Portland Trail Blazers against the Sacramento Kings.

Kris saw a season-high nine minutes and only recorded one stat: one block that was made on his twin brother, Keegan. He caught the ball at the top of the key and took two dribbles to his left to shoot a mid-range pull-up jumper, only for Kris to come in and block the shot out of bounds.

It was a beautiful moment for the family as their parents, sister, and even Keegan himself, were seen smiling after the play. Keegan responded quickly with a fadeaway three from the corner.

Kris made his NBA G League debut on Friday against the South Bay Lakers.

He played a team-high 31 minutes and produced 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting and 2-of-7 from three, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block in the 133-105 blowout win in LA. The rookie logged a game-high of 31 plus-minus.

Murray logged another strong performance in the second game of the back-to-back against South Bay. He finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and four blocks in the 114-110 win on Saturday.

He shot 5-of-11 from the field and 4-of-9 from three on his way to logging a plus-minus of 18, by far the most of any player on both teams.

Murray ended the week back on the Portland Trail Blazers’ roster for the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. After a heavy two-day slate for the Remix, he got a light workload, playing just three minutes and recording one foul in the 116-110 loss.

Luka Garza

Minnesota Timberwolves center Luka Garza got his opportunity to showcase his talent after sitting behind a deep big man rotation thus far.

The third-year center played just five minutes in Wednesday’s contest against the New Orleans Pelicans. In those five minutes, Garza scored five points on 2-of-4 shooting and two rebounds in the 122-101 blowout win.

Garza made his G League season debut with the Iowa Wolves on Friday.

In the 33 minutes that he logged, the center put up a game-high 37 points on 14-of-21 shooting, 3-of-5 from three, and 6-of-9 on free throws. He also recorded a game-high 13 rebounds, two assists, and one block in the 125-117 win against the Windy City Bulls.

Though the dominant stat line, Garza had a plus-minus of five — the worst in the Wolves’ starting lineup. Defense will need to improve on that former Hawkeyes’ side of the floor.

Garza ended the week with a DNP status with the Timberwolves in Sunday’s contest against the Golden State Warriors. Due to the deep big man rotation, he will more than likely have to stay with the Iowa Wolves where he will find more consistent playing time — especially as the Timberwolves are 7-2.

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About the Contributor
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.