It was All-Star weekend and three former Hawks participated in the festivities. Let’s go!
Luka Garza and Tyler Cook
Since our last check-in, Luka’s hot run in the regular season came to a halt. Luka played just 2 minutes in Minnesota’s final three games before the break, with those 2 minutes coming in a 128-107 loss to Memphis on February 10. Despite that drop in game time, Garza was still named as a captain for one of two teams in the G League Next Up Game. Garza promptly hung 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists in 21 minutes as Team Garza beat Team Scoot (chosen by Scoot Henderson), 178-162. The performance led to game MVP honors for Garza.
Garza shared floor time with former Hawk Tyler Cook, who was a replacement for Eric Mika on Team Scoot. Here’s a little Hawk-on-Hawk action with Garza and Cook.
Cook’s had a nice year in the G League, averaging 17-10 for the Salt Lake City Stars so far. Meanwhile, Garza’s averaged 30-9 in nine G League games and 7-2 in 22 games with the big boy Timberwolves.
Keegan also made an appearance in Salt Lake City last weekend, featuring in the Jordan Rising Stars Game. Murray played a small role in what amounts to a mini-tournament (4 teams made up of G Leaguers, rookies, and second-year players; 2 first-to-40 semi-final games, then a title game that is first-to-25). The teams were named for Pau Gasol, Deron Williams, Joakim Noah, and Jason Terry, with Murray on Team Pau.
Keegan only played 10 minutes between two games and made just one shot in the two games. That lone basket was the game-winner in the semi-final round for Team Pau over Team Deron, a 40-25 win.
Keegan Murray sends Team Pau to the Rising Stars championship pic.twitter.com/Hk2DH1CSCh— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) February 18, 2023
That’s a little swag from Murray, who also pulled down 4 rebounds and logged 2 assists. Team Pau advanced to the title game and Murray notched 1 rebound in a 25-20 win over Team Joakim.
Murray and the Kings – 32-25, still in first in the Pacific Division and third overall in the Western Conference – return to action February 23 against Portland before a mini road trip to play the suddenly surging Clippers and a double-dip in Oklahoma City (the Clippers are now just a game behind Sacramento, while OKC is in the play-in round in tenth). This could turn tricky for Sacramento – the separation between third-place Sacramento and tenth-place OKC is 4 games. That appears to be a decent cushion, but that could be cut in half next week with the two games in OKC Sunday and Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Minnesota resumes play February 24 with a visit from Charlotte before a road trip of their own in California, including a visit to Sacramento on March 4. Minnesota’s in the play-in currently, sitting in the eighth spot at 31-30 and only 3 games behind Sacramento.