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Hawks in the NBA - Keegan’s Back

Keegan Murray is back and Luka Garza continues to be Luka Garza

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Milwaukee Bucks
Keegan Murray steal! Also pictured - Giannis Antetokounmpo
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Keegan Murray’s slump is OVER and I am GD PUMPED ABOUT IT. And now we have multiple Hawks back in the Association. Let’s go!

Keegan Murray

Last week, I noted Keegan Murray’s struggles. Between the health of a family member and a slight back injury, it’s been a tough 3 weeks for Mr. Murray in the best league on Earth.

No more! After showing proof of life at the end of last week’s recap against Phoenix and Indiana, Murray had a huge 3-game stretch starting Saturday in Los Angeles.

Now, nevermind that the Los Angeles Clippers have just kind of...existed this year. They’re a professional basketball team, located in Los Angeles, California, that plays in the National Basketball Association, and that’s about all you can say about them currently. Kawhi Leonard has barely played this year - he missed the Kings game - and Paul George missed the game as well, so it’s perhaps not the best judge of where the Kings are right now. Whatever. Keegan and the Kings dropped the hammer in LA, a 123-96 rout of the Clippers. Keegan set a new career high, going for 23 points on 8-15 shooting and 3-8 shooting from deep. He also chipped in 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals while finishing with a flashy +25. Here’s Keegan blasting the Clips into space.

The Kings had a quick turnaround, heading back to Sacramento Saturday night for a back-to-back against the flailing Chicago Bulls. Keegan’s numbers weren’t as flashy, but he still contributed 11 points, 4 boards, and a block on 4-7 shooting (3-5 from 3) in a 110-101 win in which they survived a 41-point blow torch game from Zach LaVine. Here’s the block he logged. Look at him keep this in-bounds, blocking it off the glass, leading to a dunk on the other end.

He also had the pleasure of lighting the beam, this thing they do in Sacramento when they win. Courtesy of Murray the Elder.

Keegan capped the week with another good showing, this time in Milwaukee at the start of a 6-game road trip into the Eastern Conference. No moral victories for the Kings here - a 126-113 loss - but this was a 6-point game with 6 minutes left before the Bucks pushed ahead late for a more convincing scoreline. Keegan again continued his solid play, stuffing the stat sheet with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. Crucially, he continued his uptick in shooting, going 6-10 and 3-6 from 3. After a disastrous run from the floor mid-to-late November, Keegan switched on with the calendar flip to December, shooting 56 percent from the floor and 47 percent from 3 (18-32 field goal, 9-19 from 3) through 3 games. Big, big jump with those numbers.

Here’s Keegan wrestling last night with...woah, that’s Giannis he’s wrestling with, and winning. Damn.

The Kings continue their 6-game road trip tomorrow in Cleveland. A 3-3 roadie would be excellent for this team. Even with the loss to Milwaukee, the Kings stayed in the main playoff picture, tied with Utah in the 5th/6th spots and a half-game ahead of Dallas in 7th.

Luka Garza

WOAH! LUKA IS BACK AND ACTUALLY PLAYING! After yo-yoing between Des Moines and Minneapolis, Luka was back in Minneapolis with the big league Timberwolves and logged 4 minutes and 4 points in a 121-115 win over Indiana Wednesday night.

Before the call-up, Garza did this with the Iowa Wolves. 44-16? Yo.

If we’re being honest, this is probably Garza’s lot in life. You know the term for baseball players that are clearly way too good for AAA, but not quite good enough to make an impact at the Major League level? AAAA players? That’s Luka. And that’s ok! He’ll still make good money doing that. He’s a damn missile in the G-League and passable defensively, but in the NBA his defense gets picked on. It was picked on in those 4 minutes last night (he was -11 in those 4 minutes. As they say, that’s Not Good).

Luka is now averaging 2 points per game this year in 2 games played, which is more than Johnny Davis and his 1.1 a game. Please, do not do anymore research on this! Also, we were overdue for a Davis check-in, so there you go. Luka > Davis (Davis was called back up to Washington, but is now in health protocols so unavailable).

The Timberwolves start a big road trip of their own this week, beginning tomorrow in Utah. As I said last week - with Karl-Anthony Towns out for awhile, Garza will log some time in Minneapolis. When Towns returns, Luka will get some mileage on I-35 between Des Moines and Minneapolis.