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 | April 1-7

Luka Garza’s strong performance earned him a standard NBA contract for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Luka Garza (55) shoots over Utah Jazz center Omer Yurtseven (77) during the fourth quarter at Delta Center.

With a scorching hot Los Angeles Lakers team suddenly in contention for a playoff seed, the Sacramento Kings’ 2-2 week was just enough to hold them off for the eighth seed in the Western Conference standings. Kings forward Keegan Murray played a big role on both sides of the floor to keep the team afloat, per usual. 

The second-year forward recorded 19 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block on 8-of-18 shooting from the field, 2-of-7 from three, and 1-of-1 from the free throw line in 38 minutes played in the 109-95 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

The Kings headed east for a matchup with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, where they suffered a 120-109 road loss. In 32 minutes played, Murray logged 18 points, two rebounds, and one block on 7-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-10 from three for a plus-minus of -23.

Less than 24 hours after the Knicks game, Sacramento traveled to Boston to play the Celtics at TD Garden, where the Kings overcame a 20-point deficit but fell short, 101-100, after two missed game-winning shots. Playing 42 of 48 minutes, Murray recorded a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds along with four assists, one steal, and one block while shooting 4-of-15 from the floor and 2-of-10 from three. Despite the loss, he finished with a plus-minus of 13.

Murray ended the week with a strong two-way performance of 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, and a season-high four blocks on 7-of-18 shooting from the field, 3-of-10 from three, and 2-of-2 from the line in a 107-77 blowout road win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

Sacramento currently owns a 45-33 record, sitting a half-game over the Lakers and one game under the seventh-seeded New Orleans Pelicans and the sixth-seeded Phoenix Suns with just over a week left in the regular season.

Kris Murray

The Portland Trail Blazers broke their 10-game losing streak with a pair of wins last week, going 2-2 over the four-game road stretch.

With the consistent opportunity to play large minutes on a nightly basis, it seems like forward Kris Murray is getting more comfortable after having a productive four-game stretch last week.

The first-year forward kicked off the week with seven points, five rebounds, three steals, and one assist on 2-of-7 shooting from the field, 1-of-4 from deep, and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe in 29 minutes played in Monday’s 104-103 crunchtime loss to the Orlando Magic.

Kris Murray played 32 minutes and furnished six points, three rebounds, and one block while shooting 3-of-6 from the floor in Portland’s 89-86 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. This was his worst performance of the week but a solid one overall.

Friday’s 108-102 win over the Washington Wizards saw the rookie finish with 13 points and five rebounds on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 1-of-5 from three in 28 minutes played. He has a lot of room to improve from outside the arc but is already a solid finisher inside.

The Trail Blazers’ final game of the week saw them fall, 124-107, to the Boston Celtics. Murray logged an all-around performance of 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal while shooting 4-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-4 from deep.

The 21-57 Trail Blazers own the fifth-worst record in the NBA, making it a good chance they’ll receive a high pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Luka Garza

With the NBA Playoffs quickly approaching, the Minnesota Timberwolves converted center Luka Garza’s two-way contract into a standard NBA deal. This will allow the third-year center to be rostered for the postseason.

After not playing in Tuesday’s 113-106 home win over the Houston Rockets, Garza poured in 16 points, two rebounds, one assist, and one steal on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from the free throw line in nine minutes during a blowout win over the Toronto Raptors. It was the largest margin of victory in franchise history. The next day, the Timberwolves rewarded Garza with a standard NBA contract.

The next two games — a 97-87 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday and a 127-117 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday — saw Garza play just six minutes and furnish two points and two rebounds on 1-of-5 shooting from the field between the two contests.

Minnesota owns a 54-21 record, tied with the Denver Nuggets for the first seed and one game ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference standings.

Joe Wieskamp

The Maine Celtics grabbed wins in the conference semifinals and finals — both a single game series –— to advance to the NBA G League Finals.

Third-year guard Joe Wieskamp struggled in both games, but the team was able to pull through.

Thursday’s 119-112 semifinal win over the Delaware Blue Coats saw Wieskamp record seven points, three rebounds, and one block on 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 1-of-4 from three in 28 minutes played. Then in Sunday’s 99-77 finals win over the Long Island Nets, Wieskamp finished with just two points, four rebounds, and two assists on 1-of-3 shooting from the field in 20 minutes played.

The Celtics will face the Oklahoma City Blue in a three-game series for the G League title.

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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.