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Hawks in the NBA - A First Win for Keegan Murray

Basketball is more fun when you’re winning!

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Hawks in the NBA! Keegan Murray keeps turning heads in his first campaign. Let’s go!

Keegan Murray

The Kings faced another tough week, playing Miami home and away, with a game in Charlotte jammed in between, and managed a 2-1 record. The one loss was November 2 in Miami, 110-107, in which Tyler Herro clearly traveled on the game-winning 3. The NBA Two-Minute report confirmed the officials blew the call. That’s really great if you have that Kings over/under...

Let’s rewind to the first game of this stretch, the home date with Miami. Sacramento claimed their first win of the young season, a 119-113 win. Unsurprisingly, Keegan was excellent in this game, going for 22 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and 2 blocks while shooting 8-13 from the floor (3-7 from 3) and 3-4 from the line in 36 minutes. The start of the game drew these tweets from John Hollinger:

Hollinger tweeting that immediately grabbed my attention. Also no offense to KZ Okpala!

Let’s look at some highlights:

You can see why Hollinger tweeted what he did about Herro - he got big boy’d by Murray (don’t worry, Miami fans - Herro did just fine in this game, going for 34 points). That clip captures the whole package - quick trigger on 3s, a good dribble-drive game, a floater, finishing at the rim, and some defense with a block in the paint. We’ve seen that movie with Keegan before.

On Halloween, the Kings traveled cross-country to Charlotte and moved to 2-4 with a 115-108 win. Keegan’s line wasn’t as impressive - 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block on 5-15 shooting (2-7 from 3) and no free throw attempts in 32 minutes. Despite a poor shooting night, Murray made a crucial 3 late, a 25-footer to extend the lead to 6 in the final 4:30 of the 4th quarter. The big development in Charlotte was a knee injury suffered by De’Aaron Fox - that’s a huge issue for Sacramento if he’s going to miss significant time (fortunately the MRI revealed a bone bruise but no other structural damage - a huge sigh of relief for the Kings).

Unfortunately, the Kings dropped the last game of the set, the aforementioned return game in Miami. As Boiler said in our Slack - maybe Keegan’s first roadie in Miami snuck up on him a little? Miami nightlife has a history of sneaking up on people. He still had a few flashes in his worst outing of the year (I say “worst” - it’s an 82-game season; everyone has an off-game here or there).

Keegan remains on the road this weekend, finishing his Florida trip with a stop in Orlando Saturday afternoon. Next week, the Kings have a Monday-Wednesday-Friday slate of games, featuring another stop at the (suddenly reeling) Golden State Warriors, a home date with Cleveland, then a flight to Los Angeles for their first game of the year with the Los Angeles Lakers. One game to keep on the radar, coming soon - a home game with (also reeling) Brooklyn on November 15 that is now on TNT! A national TV game!

Gambling corner: It’s still early! Still not worried about that over/under! The Kings are on the board and that’s all that matters. Other than a double-digit loss to 5-3 Memphis, they’ve been in every game. The loss to Portland has aged well (the two losses to the Clippers and Warriors less so). A lot rides on the Fox injury and how much time he’ll miss.

As far as Rookie of the Year, Keegan is performing to expectations. Paolo Banchero is above expectations though - maybe way above - so that is his award to lose.