Sacramento’s Keegan Murray highlights a night of big performances with 41 points as the California Classic comes to a close and the Salt Lake City Summer League continues:
Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
Murray posted his second standout game of the California Classic and finished as the event’s top scorer with 70 points in 62 total minutes played as the Kings finished 2-0 at the Golden 1 Center.
After scoring 29 points in the Kings’ win against the Warriors on Monday, Murray picked up right where he left off, scoring 14 of the Kings 21 first quarter points and matching the Heat’s team total for the quarter. He had 19 at the break and scored another 13 points in the third quarter to give him 32 entering the fourth. He added nine more points in the fourth to finish with 41 points as Sacramento won, 95-83.
Kings fans are used to seeing Murray hit catch-and-shoot 3-pointers — he set a rookie record with 206 made 3-pointers last season — but during the California Classic a more aggressive Murray has emerged. He had multiple drives to the basket, bullying defenders to get to the rim for scoring opportunities. For a second-year player, the summer is time to add layers to your game. It appears Murray is doing just that.
Lester Quinones and Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors
Golden State’s starting backcourt of Lester Quinones and Brandin Podziemski led the Summer Warriors past the Charlotte Hornets 98-83 to finish the California Classic at 1-1.
Quinones posted his second straight game with 20-plus points, following up his 26-point night against the Kings on Monday with a game-high 21 on Wednesday. On the anniversary of his signing of a two-way contract with the Warriors, Quinones splashed five 3-pointers as he single-handedly made more 3-pointers (5-for-9) than the Hornets did (3-for-20).
Podziemski, the Warriors first-round pick from the 2023 Draft (19th overall), stuffed the stat sheet in his second summer game, finishing with 17 points, five steals, four rebounds, two 3-pointers, one assist and one block in 26 minutes. Podziemski had a few standout plays on Wednesday, including a buzzer-beating layup at the end of the first half, and a double-pump 3-pointer in transition as he showed the patience to let two defenders go flying by before launching a wide-open shot.
Malaki Branham and Julian Champagnie, San Antonio Spurs
Malaki Branham and Julian Champagnie combined for 60 points and eight 3-pointers made to lead the Spurs to a 109-99 win against the Lakers and a 2-0 finish at the California Classic.
Branham had a hot start (eight of San Antonio’s first 13 points) and an even hotter finish, scoring 17 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter as the Spurs kept the Lakers at bay. Branham shot 50% from the field (12-24) and 3-point range (3-6) and hit all five of his free throws.
Branham’s 32-point performance was the tops of the two-day tournament for the Spurs (and second overall), edging out Champagnie’s 30-point game in San Antonio’s win over Charlotte on Monday. For much of Wednesday, it looked like Champagnie may challenge his own mark, as he posted a perfect first quarter: 12 points on 4-of-4 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point range. This stretch included an entertaining back-and-forth with the Lakers’ Cole Swider as the two traded 3s on four straight possessions.
Champagnie finished the 28 points, five 3-pointers and five rebounds in the win. His 58 combined points led the tournament until the final game of the night, when Murray passed him with a 3-pointer late in the third quarter of the Kings’ game.
Salt Lake City Summer League
Tre Mann, Oklahoma City Thunder
Already off to an impressive summer start with 20 points against Utah on July 3, Mann was even better in Wednesday’s 94-86 loss to Memphis, pouring in 28 on 10-for-14 shooting to help the Thunder make a game of it after falling behind by 16 early. While he didn’t turn in a singular highlight like his ridiculous poster slam vs. the Jazz, he got to the rim virtually at will to hit all five shots inside the restricted area while drawing eight free throws.
Five turnovers and 2-for-6 shooting on 3-pointers were blemishes, but all in all OKC has to be pleased with his performances so far as it looks to turn the corner from rebuilding to competing this season.
Jake LaRavia, Memphis Grizzlies
It was a tale of bookend quarters for LaRavia, who got the Grizzlies off to a great start with 16 points in the first before shaking off a mid-game lull to bring them home with seven in the fourth of their 94-86 victory against Oklahoma City. LaRavia drilled four 3-pointers as the Grizzlies set a SLC Summer League record with 17 made 3s.