Keegan Murray, Kings rout Warriors in California Classic opener

Jul 3, 2023, 8:59 PM | Updated: Jul 4, 2023, 1:23 am

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

For the first time since April 30th’s Game 7 between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors, basketball returned to the Golden 1 Center on Monday night.

The Kings and Warriors came face-to-face once again, this time as Summer League foes, with both team’s rookies and second-year players putting on a showcase on the first day of this year’s California Classic.

Although most of Sacramento’s core rotation wasn’t present, the young Kings put on a show in front of over 10,000 fans.

Reigning All-Rookie First Team forward Keegan Murray suited up for Monday’s California Classic opener and quickly made himself comfortable out of the gates.

Less than a minute into the game, Murray went coast-to-coast for a rare poster slam that sent Golden 1 Center into a frenzy. Murray, last year’s NBA Summer League Most Valuable Player, even paused for a moment following the jam in a rare show of emotion for the 22-year-old.

Murray was in mid-season form on Monday, scoring 13 of his 29 points during the first quarter alone. The sharp-shooting forward finished the night eight-of-17 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line over 30 minutes of action.

Whether it was a poster jam, drilling triples off dribble hand-offs, or showcasing his improved ball-handling in the form of an early ankle-breaker, Murray made it clear that he likely won’t have much more to prove in NBA Summer League.

Thanks to Murray’s impressive debut, the Kings were able to keep space between themselves and the Warriors all night until eventually securing a 100-94 win to bring Day 1 of the California Classic to a close.

Kings fans in attendance got their first look at 34th-overall pick Colby Jones, who only trailed Murray as Sacramento’s leading scorer during the first half.

Jones scored nine of his 12 points during his first 11 minutes of play, showcasing his ability to score in transition and act as a disruptor on the defensive end (finished the game with two steals).

The incoming rookie finished the night with five rebounds while shooting five-of-11 from the field (one-of-five from three-point land) over 23 minutes.

Jones, a 6’5 wing that can play the two and three, was a threat from beyond the arc during the 2022-23 season, shooting 38 percent from three-point range while pulling down 5.7 rebounds per game

Sacramento’s newest rookie had a moment of connecting with fellow 2023 draftee Jalen Slawson, who found Jones at the three-point elbow for his first triple of the summer.

Rounding Out The Box Score

Last year’s NBA G-League All-Defensive First Team center Neemias Queta was back in his bag against Golden State, picking up three blocked shots during the first half. Although Queta was a threat in the paint, he ran into foul trouble early, picking up five fouls before the end of the second quarter.

Queta, who is currently a restricted free agent, is playing through somewhat of a ‘tryout’ for either a full roster spot with Sacramento or for another team that could be interested in the seven-footer’s services.

The seven-footer did most of his damage on the offensive end during the fourth quarter, scoring six of his 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds, two assists, and three blocked shots over 29 minutes.

Folson native Jordan Ford got the start at the point guard spot and finished the night with 18 points on six-of-eight shooting from the field and three-of-three from three-point range while handing out three assists over 21 minutes.

Kessler Edwards finished the night with 10 points and a team-high four steals over 27 minutes of action.

Kings In The House

On the day that Sacramento revealed its brand-new jerseys and logos for the 2023-24 season, guard Malik Monk sat courtside next to fellow guard Davion Mitchell while sporting a number-zero Kings jersey.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and Stockton Kings GM Anjali Ranadive were also in the house for the California Classic opener, along with franchise guard De’Aaron Fox and general manager Monte McNair.


Next Game

Sacramento will take the Fourth of July off before returning to Golden 1 Center for Wednesday’s California Classic finale.

The Kings will face 18th-overall pick Jaime Jaquez Jr. and the Miami Heat at 7:00 PM PST to close out the Classic, as teams will then begin traveling to Las Vegas for the NBA 2K24 Summer League (starts July 7th).

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Heat coverage on Wednesday right here on Sactown Sports 1140, with Game Night beginning at 6:00 PM PST before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule

  • Monday, July 3rd & Wednesday, July 5th – California Classic Summer League at Golden 1 Center
  • Thursday, July 6– Free Agents can begin signing deals
  • Friday, July 7–Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
  • August TBD– 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
  • September TBD– Sacramento Kings training camp begins

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