Murray Shines, But Kings Fall Short To Oklahoma City
Jul 13, 2022, 7:13 PM| Updated: 7:23 pm
Are you not entertained?
Keegan Murray put on another impressive performance on Wednesday in Las Vegas, but the rest of the Sacramento Kings struggled to match the rookie’s energy as the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled out an 86-80 win to eliminate the reigning NBA Summer League champions from defending its crown.
With the loss, Sacramento (1-2) will not be able to qualify for this weekend’s Summer League championship game.
Keegan Murray is BALLING on NBA TV
🏀 26 PTS | 7 REB | 4 STL pic.twitter.com/MZQFkWJeCd
— NBA (@NBA) July 14, 2022
If you were wondering if Keegan Murray was going to get up for a matchup against second-overall pick Chet Holmgren, I have one question to ask:
You were unsure?
Murray burst out of the gates firing on Wednesday as the fourth-overall pick finished the first quarter with nine points (three-of-four shooting) while also swiping two steals over the first 10 minutes of play. The forward scored nine of Sacramento’s 19 first-quarter points as the Kings took a four-point lead into the second.
While Murray’s first quarter put Sacramento out in front early, the Thunder would quickly put together a 12-0 run while the former Iowa Hawkeye rested on the sideline. Oklahoma City was able to take advantage of a very weak Kings bench unit to take a commanding 44-32 lead into the half.
If it wasn’t for Murray, the Kings would likely be down by a lot more than 12 points at the break. Murray scored half of Sacramento’s points during the first half (16 points) as no other member of the roster scored more than five points during the first two quarters of play.
When you take away Murray’s contributions, Sacramento scored 16 points on six-of-22 shooting from the field during the first half.
keeg showing off the speed with the steal and breakaway dunk 💨@keegan3murray | #SacramentoProud pic.twitter.com/2ggkmFmO2H
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) July 14, 2022
Oklahoma City remained in control for the remainder of Wednesday’s contest, as the Kings couldn’t break through in the second half to challenge a double-digit deficit. Holmgren wasn’t the primary antagonist during the loss, as Thunder guard Tre Mann’s 15 points led Oklahoma City to an 86-80 victory to end Sacramento’s hopes of defending its Summer League championship.
Besides Murray’s massive night (29 points), the Kings struggled to find an offensive groove against the Thunder.
Jared Rhoden added 16 points and Keon Ellis drilled four-of-eight three-point attempts to finish the game with 14 points, but no other King scored more than six points during the losing effort. Sacramento’s bench production has been an issue all summer, and now that guard Matt Coleman has signed a deal overseas, the second unit was even thinner during Wednesday’s loss.
Now that Sacramento’s title hopes have dissipated, Kings head coach Mike Brown and general manager Monte McNair may choose to shut Murray down for the team’s final two games this weekend.
If sitting Murray is the route that the Kings front office chooses, it’s hard to be upset with the call. Throughout both the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer League, Murray has simply dominated. The forward had more than proven that he’s ready for the NBA and ready to help this franchise turn the page on nearly two decades of misery.
We’ve seen what we need to see from Murray. The next time that he takes the floor, he will likely be in a lineup next to De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Fall can’t come soon enough.
Murray vs Holmgren
The main storyline of Wednesday’s game was second-overall pick Chet Holmgren taking on the fourth-overall pick in Keegan Murray.
When the dust settled, the winner of the anticipated matchup was clearly Murray.
Over MIN minutes, Murray finished the game with a Summer League-high 29 points on nine-of-17 shooting from the field to go along with seven rebounds and four steals in what was another Summer League MVP-esque showing from the 21-year-old.
As Murray delivered his fifth 20-point showing over six Summer League appearances, Holmgren struggled to find his offense, finishing the game with just eight points on three-of-eight shooting from the field. Although the Gonzaga product swiped five steals, his rookie counterpart came out on top during the individual head-to-head matchup.
Keegan Murray vs Chet Holmgren:
Murray: 29 PTS (9/17 FG), 7 REB, 2 AST, 4 STL, 3 TO, 33 MIN
Holmgren: 8 PTS (3/8 FG), 5 REB, 3 AST, 5 STL, 2 TO, 26 MIN
Murray thrived against the 2nd pick, nearly topping the 30-point mark while being defended by Holmgren for most of the game.
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) July 14, 2022
After departing from Sunday’s game against Indiana due to left calf soreness, center Neemias Queta was active for Wednesday’s matchup against Oklahoma City.
On his 23rd birthday, the center scored just one point on 0-of-4 shooting over 22 minutes.
Sacramento will play its final scheduled game on Friday afternoon against their Pacific Division foe, the Phoenix Suns.
Depending on the outcome of Friday’s game, the Kings will play their final game of the summer on either Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
NBA 2K23 Summer League in Las Vegas (July 7-17th)
- vs Phoenix Suns – Friday, July 15 – 5:00 pm PST
- Final game TBD