Kings play-in game: Is Keegan Murray hurt? First-half ends with flurry of physicality

A key offensive player for the Kings, Keegan Murray briefly exited with an apparent injury late in the first half of Friday’s NBA play-in game between the Kings and Pelicans in New Orleans.

With just under three minutes to play in the second quarter, Murray appeared to slip near the top of the arc and turned the ball over. Following a timeout, replays on the TNT broadcast showed Murray walking into the locker room grimacing and holding his left side.

Murray returned to the floor to start the second half.

The injury came during a flurry of physicality in the last few minutes of the second quarter, which ended with the Pelicans up 54-45 over the Kings at the break.

Less than a minute before Murray hit the floor, Pelicans center Larry Nance Jr. shoved Kings guard Keon Ellis to the floor as the two scrambled for a loose ball. No foul was called. Replays on the TNT broadcast showed a clear push by Nance. Users on social media were quick to compare the move to an NFL stiff-arm.

And as play resumed following the timeout after Murray’s injury, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Pelicans forward Naji Marshall had to be separated by teammates and refs following a brief flaring of tempers.

“Unless they can speed this tempo up, they’re not gonna win this game,” analyst Charles Barkley said during the TNT halftime show.

Murray, a key offensive player for the Kings scored 32 points and tallied eight made 3-pointers in Tuesday’s win over the Golden State Warriors.