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. 13-19

Keegan Murray’s defense became the X factor for the Kings’ success while twin brother Kris Murray saw improved playing time on the Trail Blazers.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2022; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Keegan Murray (Iowa) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number four overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center.

Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray continues to prove why he was chosen with the fourth overall pick in a star-studded 2022 NBA Draft. 

The second-year star has become the X factor for the Kings’ early success — thanks to his much-improved defense.

Murray put up his best performance of the week in the 133-120 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. Playing just shy of 38 minutes, Murray logged 25 points, eight rebounds, one assist, and one steal on 9-of-13 shooting, 5-of-8 from three, and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.

But his game-high 21 plus-minus was credited more toward the stellar defense he played on Cavs star guard Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell shot 4-for-12 in field goals and committed one turnover when guarded by Murray. 

The Kings went from Sacramento to Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Wednesday. There, Murray logged nine points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals on 3-for-9 shooting, 2-for-7 from three, and 1-of-2 in free throws in 31 minutes. 

Though Murray struggled to shoot the ball in this game as well in this game, he logged a 13 plus-minus in the 125-110 win — proving he can impact the game in many ways beside scoring. 

The second-year’s shooting semi-slump carried over into Friday’s contest against the San Antonio Spurs. Playing 38 minutes, Murray logged just six points on 3-for-10 shooting and failed to convert any of his four three-point attempts. 

But he also recorded six rebounds, three assists, and one steal in the 129-120 win in San Antonio. And his 19 plus-minus was a team-high — once again serving as a key player despite a lack of scoring. 

The final game of the Kings’ four-game week came on Sunday in a 129-113 victory against the Dallas Mavericks in Sacramento. Murray bounced back and logged 17 points, three rebounds, four assists, and one steal on 7-of-13 shooting and 2-of-7 from three while cashing in on his lone free throw attempt.

Murray’s 21 plus-minus in Sunday’s contest marked the second time this week he finished with a plus-minus of at least 20 and the third time in four games he led the team in plus-minus. 

The Kings are currently on a six-game win streak and sit fourth in the Western conference standings with an 8-4 record. 

Kris Murray

Portland Trail Blazers forward Kris Murray earned his place in the rotation after a dominant G League stint for the Rip City Remix last week. 

Though Murray did spend all week on the Trail Blazers roster, his playing time still remains inconsistent. 

The first of his four-game slate came against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. The rookie played just two minutes and didn’t record any stats in the 115-99 win in Utah.

It wasn’t until the very next night in the 109-95 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers where Murray would get his bigger opportunity. In a career-high 17 minutes, he put up five points, two rebounds, three assists, and one steal on 2-of-5 shooting and 1-of-3 from three. Murray had a team-high of two plus-minus. 

But Murray wouldn’t get the same opportunity in Friday’s 107-95 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. He failed to convert both of his field goal attempts while pulling in one rebound and one steal in just five minutes. 

The Blazers remained at home for the third game in a row as they hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. There, Murray logged a new career-high in minutes with just under 21 played. 

And in those minutes, the rookie put up eight points, two rebounds, and one steal on 2-of-4 shooting, 1-of-2 three-pointers, and 3-of-4 free throws. 

The rebuilding Portland franchise continues to struggle as they are in the midst of a seven-game losing skid. Portland sits 14th in the Western Conference with a 3-10 record, barely beating out the San Antonio Spurs for the worst record in the NBA. 

Luka Garza

Minnesota Timberwolves center Luka Garza saw very limited opportunities in both the NBA and the G League this week. 

The third-year big played just four minutes in Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns. Garza logged five points and two rebounds on 1-of-4 field goals and hit three of his four free throw attempts in the 133-115 loss. 

This was Garza’s only appearance for the NBA and G League all week. 

Though there are no indications of an injury or any issue with the team, Garza awaits his next opportunity to get quality minutes. The Timberwolves currently sit atop of the Western conference with a 9-3 record after winning eight of their last nine games.

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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.