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. 26 – March 3

Keegan Murray regained his shooting touch as he logged at least 17 points in all three games last week.
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 hit on all offensive cylinders despite the team winning only one of three games last week.

The second-year professional forward logged his best game of the week in Monday’s 121-110 loss to the Miami Heat. He finished with 28 points, five rebounds, one assist, three steals, and one block while shooting 10-of-14 from the field, 6-of-7 from three, and 2-of-2 from the line.

Murray followed up this well-rounded performance with a 21-point, four-rebound outing along with a steal and a block on 9-of-17 shooting from the hardwood and 3-of-7 from deep in the 117-96 blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

The Kings ended the week with a 124-120 crunch-time win against the then-first-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. Murray furnished 17 points, five rebounds, one assist, two steals, and one block on 7-of-15 shooting from the floor, 1-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 2-of-2 from the stripe while finishing with team-highs of 43 minutes played and a plus-minus of 14.

Sacramento enters early March as the sixth seed in the Western Conference standings with a 34-25 record. There’s only a two-game separation between seeds five through eight and a three-and-a-half game separation between seeds five through 10.

However, the 11th-seeded Utah Jazz sit five-and-a-half games behind the 10th-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, so the Kings’ chances at securing at least a Play-In Tournament spot are almost certain unless they have a record-breaking fallout.

Kris Murray

The Portland Trail Blazers have clearly shifted their focus toward developing their young players with forward Kris Murray starting all three games last week as a result.

The rookie played 30 minutes in the 106-93 loss to the Heat on Tuesday where he went scoreless on six shot attempts. But he made his mark on the game by adding three rebounds, two assists, and two steals while finishing with a plus-minus of one.

Portland had a two-day break from competition before a back-to-back road matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Blazers notched the 122-92 blowout win on Friday and the 107-100 win on Saturday.

Murray put up his best performance of the week in the 30-point victory, finishing with 14 points, two rebounds, two assists, and three steals while shooting 5-of-8 from the field, 2-of-3 from three, and 2-of-2 from the line in 24 minutes played — logging a plus-minus of eight in the process.

But the second game was unimpressive statistically as the 23-year-old furnished just two points, five rebounds, and two assists on 1-of-6 shooting and missed all three three-point attempts. However, his week-high plus-minus of 10 in a seven-point victory proves his ability to impact a game despite his lackluster stats.

Portland remains at the 14th seed in the Western Conference with a 17-42 record and with a chance to fall down to the 15th seed as the San Antonio Spurs have won back-to-back games.

Joe Wieskamp

G Leaguer Joe Wieskamp put up two similar statlines that each had a different impact on the team’s back-to-back victories against the Wisconsin Herd.

The first of the two matchups came on Friday where the third-year guard for the Maine Celtics logged 12 points, five rebounds, and one block while shooting 4-of-8 from the field and 2-of-4 from three and hitting on his lone free throw attempt in 26 minutes played. His 16 plus-minus was second on the team and first among starters in the 117-108 win.

But the 105-103 victory saw Wieskamp finish with a team-low plus-minus of -12 in 29 minutes played. He finished with nine points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal on 4-of-10 shooting from the field, 1-of-5 from three, and 0-of-2 from the free throw line.

The NBA’s Boston Celtics sit eight-and-a-half games above the second-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings with a 48-12 record — presumably locking up the first seed in the conference.

Luka Garza

Minnesota Timberwolves center Luka Garza didn’t see any time on the floor in the four games last week.

The Timberwolves went 2-2 for the week, taking the 114-105 win against the Spurs and the 110-101 win against the Grizzlies, but suffering the 124-120 loss against the Kings and the 89-88 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The two losses hindered Minnesota in the standings as the Oklahoma City Thunder stole the first seed in the Western Conference standings. However, the Thunder only lead by half a game over Minnesota and the Denver Nuggets, so a lot of fluctuation is bound to happen at the top of the West through the last stretch of the regular season.

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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.