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 | March 25-31

Joe Wieskamp faced his former team in the last game of the G League regular season.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) takes a shot against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) in the second quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It seems as if the Sacramento Kings are more prone to winning the more Keegan Murray is aggressive on offense.

The Kings went 2-2 for the week and are still stuck in the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings with a 43-31 record. The second year forward put up 38 shots in the wins against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Utah Jazz but shot the ball just 22 times in back-to-back losses to the Dallas Mavericks — a noticeable difference that correlates with the team’s success.

Monday’s 108-96 win against the 76ers saw Murray log 23 points, four assists, three rebounds, one steal, and one block on 9-of-20 shooting from the field, 3-of-11 from three, and 2-of-3 from the free throw line for a team-high plus-minus of 19 in 38 minutes played.

The Kings suffered the 132-96 blowout loss in the first meeting of the week against the Mavs. In 33 minutes played, Murray finished the game with 17 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal while shooting 6-of-11 from the floor, 2-of-6 from deep, and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.

Both teams got a two-day rest before meeting again in Sacramento on Friday, where the Mavs took the 107-103 crunchtime win. Murray poured in just 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from three and 0-of-4 from inside the arc along with seven rebounds, one assist, and one block in 35 minutes played.

Sacramento ended its week with a 127-106 blowout win over the Jazz on Sunday, where Murray furnished 25 points, four rebounds, three assists, and one block while shooting 10-of-18 from the floor and 5-of-12 from three for a plus-minus of 25 in 35 minutes played.

The Kings are in a strong position to clinch a postseason berth within the next week or so, either as a Play-In Tournament team or a playoff team that avoids the PIT altogether.

Kris Murray

First-year forward Kris Murray really struggled during the Portland Trail Blazers’ three-game slate last week.

The Trail Blazers lost all three games and will head into the new week on a nine-game losing streak, only increasing their chances at grabbing the No. 1 pick in an underwhelming 2024 NBA Draft class.

Portland’s 110-92 loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday saw Kris Murray pour in four points, six rebounds, two steals, one assist, and one block on 2-of-11 shooting from the field in 31 minutes played.

The rookie followed up Monday’s poor performance with a scoreless outing on three shot attempts in 22 minutes played in Wednesday’s 120-106 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He also notched four assists, three rebounds, and one steal.

Friday’s game against the Miami Heat saw Portland suffer a historic 60-point loss, 142-82. Kris Murray logged a career-high 42 minutes and put up 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists on 4-of-10 shooting from the field and 3-of-8 from three.

With the Trail Blazers already eliminated from the postseason and only eight games left in the regular season, Kris Murray’s first year in the NBA is coming down to its last couple of weeks.

Luka Garza

What started off as getting some opportunity to get meaningful minutes after Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury about three weeks ago, third-year center Luka Garza received hardly any playing time at all during the Minnesota Timberwolves’ three-game slate last week.

Wednesday’s 110-104 win over the Golden State Warriors saw Garza log just two minutes of playing time and finish with two points on 1-of-2 shooting from the field.

Two days later in the 111-98 win over the Denver Nuggets, Garza didn’t record a single stat in the one minute he played. He didn’t see any time on the floor in the 109-101 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

Unless Garza develops his game into being more than an offensive big who can put up points, it’ll be hard for him to get any playing time for any team, let alone a top Western Conference team with a big-heavy rotation in the Timberwolves.

Coming down to the last stretch of the regular season, Minnesota owns a 51-23 record and sits one game behind the first-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the West.

Joe Wieskamp

In the last three games of the G League regular season, Maine Celtics guard Joe Wieskamp had arguably his best stretch of games this season.

Tuesday’s 127-112 victory over the College Park Skyhawks saw the third-year guard log 20 points and seven rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, 5-of-8 from three, and 1-of-2 from the free throw line with a plus-minus of 15 in 35 minutes played.

Weiskamp turned around and poured in 26 points, three rebounds, and three steals while shooting 9-of-18 from the floor, 3-of-9 from three, and 3-of-3 from the line in 24 minutes played in Thursday’s 132-122 loss to the Skyhawks.

The final game of the regular season saw the Celtics go up against Wieskamp’s old team — the Texas Legends — on Saturday, where Maine notched the 110-109 crunchtime win. In 36 minutes played, Wieskamp finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, and two assists on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 from three.

The team’s first playoff game is slated for April 4, and the opponent has yet to be listed.

The NBA’s Boston Celtics have already clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference, owning a 58-16 record with eight games to go in their regular season schedule.

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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.