Keegan Murray details 45-minute double-double explosion in Kings' Game 6 win
Murray breaks down double-double explosion in Kings' big win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Keegan Murray is coming into his own as a key piece to the Kings' first NBA playoff run in 17 years.
The Sacramento rookie played a game-high 45 minutes in his team's 118-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 on Friday at Chase Center, posting a double-double to help the Kings force a Game 7 back home in the opening-round playoff series.
"I’m fine. I mean, I’ve got young legs, fresh legs, so I feel good as new," Murray joked after the game during an interview with NBC Sports California's Morgan Ragan, Matt Barnes and Kenny Thomas.
The 22-year-old and No. 4 overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft was a plus-19 in plus/minus rating Friday -- behind only Malik Monk (plus-21) and De'Aaron Fox (plus-20) for the game lead -- and scored 15 points, grabbed 12 boards and dished out two assists.
Murray's first playoff series of his NBA career didn't start out as he had hoped, and the young forward struggled through a shooting slump during the Kings' first three games against the Warriors. Things turned around for the rookie in Game 4, however, and the trend continued for the most part in Game 6.
"When I let it go, I think it should go in every time," Murray told the NBC Sports California crew. "The first couple games, I started out a little rocky, but I knew once I got it going, I’d get it going. I think it was either Game 3 or Game 4 I kind of turned it around, and ever since then, it’s really no looking back. My teammates got my back and trust me and my decision-making."
"When I let it go, I think it should go in every time."
Keegan talks about getting his confidence back ðª pic.twitter.com/u1FP14EJka
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) April 29, 2023
Murray's shot-making was enough to make an impact Friday, but overall, he shot 5 of 17 from the field with four 3-pointers. Eventually, he became a difference-maker through alternate means.
"[Rebounding] was a big point of emphasis for us, and I knew especially in the second half, my shot wasn’t falling, so I really just needed to affect the game in a different way," Murray said. "So, I just tried to crash as much as I can, try to limit their extra possessions. I got a couple of offensive rebounds for us, and I feel like that kind of helped us propel forward."
Murray's teammate Fox was impressed by the rookie's prowess on the glass Friday, as well as his 45 minutes played.
"I mean, I think we all know Keegan has a bright future," Fox told reporters after the game. "This being his first year, you're in a closeout game as a rookie and you're playing 45 minutes. Obviously we can talk about how he shot, but I mean, he hit some big shots for us. He was big in the beginning of the game for us, also having  rebounds. I mean, he's out there chasing Klay [Thompson] at times. He's switching onto Steph [Curry].
"Like, he's doing things that you're really expecting a vet to do, and he's having success. He know that we're going to continue to be confident in him, regardless of how he's shooting. He hasn't had the best shooting series, but he's had big games for us. He knows that we're going to continue to ride with him no matter what."
De'Aaron discusses Keegan's growth throughout the series pic.twitter.com/J5KBb5owCr
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) April 29, 2023
Kevin Huerter told reporters after the game that the way Murray adjusted to the Kings' new-look small-ball lineup was "big" for a rookie.
"Keegan's rebounding tonight was huge. We went small for a lot of the game," Huerter said. "That was something we talked about in the huddles is everybody needs to go rebound. He's playing with tremendous confidence, 45 minutes tonight. Really starting off getting us going on the offensive side of the ball, and for the whole game was just super solid for us.
"As a rookie, that's big, the way he's responded this whole series."
RELATED: How Kings befuddled Warriors with Game 6 small-ball adjustment
Sacramento's huge win in the pivotal road matchup was a team effort, and Murray contributed where it counted. Now, the Kings will look to clinch the opening series and advance to the Western Conference semifinals Sunday at Golden 1 Center.
"We just weren’t worried about anything else but playing hard," Murray said. "We knew if we just gave our best effort, we could go home either way -- win or loss -- and keep our heads high. So we just wanted to give 110 percent no matter the outcome, and we did that. We ended up getting the win, so we’re happy to go back home for Game 7."