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 | Feb. 19-25

Joe Wieskamp poured in a career-high 36 points as he saw increased opportunity since being traded to the Maine Celtics.
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Joe Wieskamp (11) knocks the ball out of Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell (0) hands during the third quarter at Target Center.

Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray continues to provide immense value to the team’s success despite putting up common statlines on a nightly basis.

The second-year forward helped the Kings win both matchups against the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers in the first set of games after the all-star break.

Sacramento defeated San Antonio, 127-122, on Thursday in the team’s first game in eight days. Murray poured in 16 points and four rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, 2-of-4 from three, and 2-of-2 from the free throw line in 35 minutes played.

The Kings turned around and took a commanding 123-107 win in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Sunday.

In a potential playoff matchup, Murray proved his value against a heavy veteran roster that features four future Hall of Famers, logging 11 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block while shooting 4-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-7 from deep.

Though those stats don’t necessarily stand out, the 23-year-old finished with a game-high 23 plus-minus, proving that he had an excellent impact on the outcome of the game.

Murray constantly hits on all the intangibles with his high basketball IQ, his development into an elite defender, and his learning how to play well off the ball. That’s as Kings all-stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis typically dominate the ball on most possessions.

Kings LOCKDOWN Clippers Offense With 41 REB and 10 STL | 2.25.2024

With the two wins last week, Sacramento now sits at the fifth seed in the Western Conference standings with a 33-23 record — tied with the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans in terms of games behind the first seed and just half of a game above the Dallas Mavericks. Every Kings game from here until the end of the season will be crucial if they aspire to avoid the Play-In Tournament.

Kris Murray

The Portland Trail Blazers head into the new week on an eight-game losing streak after their two losses against the Denver Nuggets and the Charlotte Hornets last week.

However, rookie forward Kris Murray started both games this week at the shooting guard position while playing the most minutes he’s seen in a two-game stretch so far this season.

He played 35 minutes against the defending champion Nuggets on Friday, where he logged nine points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal on 4-of-10 shooting from the field and 1-of-2 from the charity stripe in the 127-112 loss.

Murray followed up Friday’s all-around performance by recording another versatile statline in the 93-80 loss to the Hornets on Sunday. In 33 minutes played, he put up six points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals while shooting 2-of-9 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line.

His shooting was subpar coming out of the all-star break, especially from three where he failed to convert any of his eight attempts from deep. Nonetheless, the 23-year-old’s impressive two-game stretch shows flashes of having a similar playstyle to his twin brother, Keegan, when granted significant minutes.

Portland inches closer to being eliminated from Play-In Tournament contention, though it is expected as the main objective is to tank and get a high draft pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Joe Wieskamp

After being traded from the Texas Legends to the Maine Celtics last Monday, G League guard Joe Wieskamp is seeing more opportunities to showcase his abilities as he started all three games last week.

The first game of the week came on the front end of a back-to-back against the Birmingham Squadron on Thursday. The third-year guard dropped a career-high 36 points on an absurd 13-of-17 shooting from the field, 6-of-10 from beyond the arc, and 3-of-4 from the free throw line. He also logged seven rebounds and two steals on a plus-minus of nine for the game in the 127-125 crunchtime loss.

Joe Wieskamp Drops Career-High 36 PTS & 6 3PM vs. Squadron

The second end of the back-to-back against the Squadron came on Friday, where the Celtics suffered another close loss, 99-98. Wieskamp poured in 15 points, four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks while shooting 6-of-13 from the field, 1-of-7 from three, and 1-of-2 from the free throw line — a certain cooldown from his outstanding shooting performance the day before.

The Celtics got a day of rest before their matchup against the Westchester Knicks on Sunday. Wieskamp really struggled to put the ball in the basket this time, finishing the game with just five points on 2-of-9 shooting from the floor and 1-of-6 from deep while also grabbing three rebounds and two assists.

However, his impact on the floor was evident as he finished with a plus-minus of 14 — higher than his plus-minus in his career-high performance.

The NBA’s Boston Celtics stand far ahead of the pack with a 45-12 record, sitting seven-and-a-half games ahead of the second-seed Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference standings and five games ahead of the second-best team in the league in the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Luka Garza

Minnesota Timberwolves center Luka Garza didn’t see the floor in the two games post-all-star break last week.

Unless an injury befalls either Karl-Anthony Towns or Rudy Gobert, it’s highly unlikely that Garza will see time on the floor for the remainder of the season as the Timberwolves make a push to secure the first seed in the Western Conference standings.

Minnesota owns a 40-17 record and is tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top spot there.

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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.