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Hawks in the NBA - Mt. Murray Erupts!

Keegan Murray is ridiculous and the league is abuzz.

Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

We did an NBA roundup last week but after the weekend, we have to do another, rapid-fire.

Keegan Murray

And this man is the reason why.

WOW. As I noted in last week’s NBA wrap, the sole reason Keegan’s “struggled” this year was down to shooting. His shot was not going down through the first quarter of the season. He had another 0-fer shooting performance last Thursday, a 5-point win over Oklahoma City (15 points, 3 rebounds, 0-2 from 3). His shooting sat at 41.6 percent from the floor and 30.4 percent from 3 post-OKC.

That changed Saturday night.

In the best performance of his career, Keegan exploded for a career-high 47 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and zero turnovers in a 125-104 thrashing of Utah in Sacramento.

Keegan’s shot returning was the story of the night, as he joined exclusive company with a 16-23 night from the floor and a 12-15 night from 3. 12-15!!! Keegan made 12 threes through 3 quarters - his 3-point percentage jumped to 35.7 percent for the year - and finished the third quarter with a Kings franchise record 26 points in the quarter, besting Mitch Richmond’s record of 25 set on December 15, 1995.

His 12 made threes included 11-straight makes. 11-straight makes is an NBA record. Keegan was two away from tying the NBA record of 14 in a game set by Klay Thompson on October 29, 2018, but his final attempts rimmed out. Keegan could’ve been going for a 60-piece, but Mike Brown sat him for an extended stretch in the fourth quarter. Keegan re-entered the game after a Utah run made the game closer than it was or should have been, then pulled him shortly after his final 2 attempts missed and Sacramento had pushed the lead back over 20.

Word spread quickly through the league on what Keegan was doing, including comment from Steph Curry when he was asked about the difficulty of making 12 3s in a game after Golden State’s 124-120 win over Brooklyn. The question left Steph with an eyes bulging, “Woah, Keegan did what?” look on his face.

Keegan is now the 7th player in NBA history with 12 made 3s in a single game. The other players to do this are Klay Thompson, Steph Curry (combined for 5; 3 for Thompson, 2 for Curry), Kobe Bryant, Donyell Marshall (???), Damian Lillard, and Zach LaVine. That’s incredible company to keep.

Keegan is now the youngest player to do that, with Kobe being the previous holder of that distinction until Saturday night.

Sacramento fans were particularly spicy postgame, with almost all fire directed toward those who laughed at Sacramento for taking Keegan over Jaden Ivey.

SPICY. I should add here that Ivey hasn’t been a total bust, but yeah, when his team has lost 23-straight games...gonna catch some strays there, Pistons fans.

Here are all 12 made threes from Keegan. Whew.

Keegan followed up Saturday’s extravaganza with another great game Monday night, as Sacramento hammered the Wizards - more on them in a second - 143-131 to move to 16-9 and 4th in the West. Keegan again filled the box score, going for 25 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and again no turnovers. He made another 4 3-pointers Monday and went 9-17 from the floor.

Saturday night’s outburst prompted a question in the BHGP discord chat from Heavy Metal Lawyer - is that the most a former Iowa player has ever scored in an NBA game?

My very quick scan of basketball-reference leads me to answer no! Basketball-reference turned up the following career highs:

  • 40 for Don Nelson on February 25, 1970 versus the San Diego Rockets (the Rockets moved to Houston for the 1971-72 season, where they have been ever since);
  • 40 for John Johnson on December 26, 1971 versus the Baltimore Bullets (no 3-point line);
  • 40 for Acie Earl on April 12, 1996 versus the Boston Celtics (against the team that drafted Earl; this is probably the most unlikely 40-point game in NBA history);
  • 45 for Ricky Davis on December 9, 2002 versus the Milwaukee Bucks (Davis followed this up with 42 points on December 13, 2002, and another 42 on December 20, 2002; Cleveland lost all of those games. Davis had another 42-point game in 2007 with Minnesota, also a loss); and
  • 47 for Keegan Saturday night.

But ah yes, we have one more Iowa luminary to examine. Mr. Fred Brown. Downtown Freddie Brown exploded for 58 points on March 23, 1974 versus the Golden State Warriors. Brown did this on 24-37 shooting (again, no 3-point line) while going 10-13 from the free throw line. Brown had 5 career games over 40, going for 42 on December 30, 1976 versus Cleveland, 41 on November 9, 1975 versus the New Orleans Jazz, and 40 on November 23, 1974 versus Portland then another 40 six days later on November 29, 1974 versus Philadelphia. Crazy run there from Fred Brown. What a scorer he was. He’d fit right in with the current era.

Kris Murray

Kris returned to the Trail Blazers after a brief G-League stop, playing Thursday in a 122-114 loss to Utah. It was a productive game for Kris, as he finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals in 17 minutes.

That was enough to earn Kris back-to-back DNP-CD Saturday and Sunday (Portland lost both games, to Dallas and Golden State). I don’t get it, as none of the bigs in front of Kris are shooting particularly well, and this season is already a lost one in Portland sitting in 14th out of 15 teams in the West at 6-19. Play Kris and see what you have.

Luka Garza

No movement here. Still just 5 games played on the season.

Gambling Update

So I placed wagers on the Denver Nuggets winning 50 or more regular season games - easy money there, though they stepped on an Oklahoma City-sized banana peel that left me more than a little annoyed Saturday night - and the under on Washington’s win total for the season of 24.5. Let’s check in on the 4-22 Bullets Wizards:

Everyone? Bet NBA over/unders. Easy money with some of these joker franchises.