Kings’ Keegan Murray on remaining aggressive against Warriors

Apr 17, 2024, 8:14 AM | Updated: 8:15 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 16: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Moses Mo...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Keegan Murray has proven he can be a volume scorer before, but Tuesday’s showing in the single-elimination NBA Play-In game was a stern reminder for those who may have forgotten.

Murray, the fourth overall pick from the 2022 NBA Draft, put on a show to lead the Sacramento Kings past the Golden State Warriors by a final of 118-94 in a game that put the ‘Beam Team’ one win away from clinching a playoff berth.

The 23-year-old didn’t waste any time getting involved on offense, hoisting an attempt from beyond the arc upon his first touch just 31 seconds into the first quarter that evened the score at 3-3.

Murray’s triple acted as a sign of what was to come, and Sacramento continued to feed the hot-handed forward.

“The first play was for me, and we just kind of kept going to that early on in the game,” Murray said postgame when asked about his quick start to Tuesday’s game.

“I feel like I kept being aggressive no matter if I was missing shots, missing bunnies, things like that. So, when your shot’s falling, and especially when mine’s falling like against Utah earlier in the year (when Murray scored a career-high 47 points) and things like that, they always seemed to find me at some point.”

At a time when the Kings have searched for a new offensive identity as they learn to live without injured sharpshooter Kevin Huerter (shoulder) and dynamic Sixth Man of the Year contender Malik Monk (knee), others have had to step up to bridge the gap.

For Murray, a player who led the NCAA in scoring during the 2021-22 season while with Iowa, slipping back into a high-volume role seemed to fit his game like a glove.

The second-year forward scored a game-high 32 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field and eight-of-13 from deep—the most triples made during a single game in NBA Play-In history—and added nine rebounds and two steals over 38 minutes.

Murray was a force from deep against the Warriors’ defense, a trend that carried over from last year’s playoff series against Sacramento’s Northern California rival. After struggling through Games 1-3, Murray shot 51 percent from the field and 46 percent from deep during the series’ final four games.

One year later, Murray showcased a similar efficiency level while taking charge of a Kings offense that was firing on all cylinders during Tuesday’s blowout win.

“I mean, we played them like ten times the last whatever amount of times,” Murray said of his familiarity with Golden State. “I just knew kind of what my spots were (going to) be going into the game. So, we stayed aggressive and just capitalized that.”

Good things happen for Sacramento when Murray is engaged on offense.

Over the 33 games (both regular season and postseason) that Murray has scored 20 points or more during his NBA career, the Kings hold a 25-8 (.757) record in those contests.

Murray’s offensive impact relieves some of the pressure that falls on All-NBA talents De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, who both had strong showings on Tuesday, but didn’t have to press when looking for their shots.

Games like Murray’s 32-point outing against the Warriors act as confirmation that Sacramento, a team that has lacked scoring from its forwards over the years, has a special piece in the former fourth-overall pick.

More on Keegan Murray & the Kings

Sweet Revenge: Kings eliminate Warriors, advance in NBA Play-In

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will need one more win on Friday night to keep their season alive and clinch a first-round playoff berth, but the New Orleans Pelicans will stand in their way as the two teams will meet for the sixth time this season.

The Pelicans have won all five head-to-head meetings against the Kings this season, including a 135-123 triumph on April 11th at Golden 1 Center.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Pelicans coverage, beginning at 5:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 6:30 PM PST tip-off from New Orleans.

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Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, April 19th – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 6:30 PM PST

NBA Postseason Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 16th-Friday, April 19th – NBA Play-In Tournament
  • Saturday, April 20th – NBA Playoffs (First Round) begin

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