Hawks' Dejounte Murray supports Gregg Popovich ahead of Spurs meeting

Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Dejounte Murray voiced his support for Gregg Popovich ahead of Atlanta's looming showdown with the San Antonio Spurs.
San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks
San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Just a day before the Atlanta Hawks’ upcoming meeting with the San Antonio Spurs, star shooting guard Dejounte Murray voiced his support of Gregg Popovich’s recent in-game decision that went viral. 

In a Nov. 22 home game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Spurs fans showered San Antonio legend Kawhi Leonard with loud booing as he prepared to shoot free throws. Popovich then grabbed a microphone from the scorer’s table and asked the home crowd to stop booing.

"Excuse me for a second. Can we stop all the booing and let these guys play? It’s got no class, it’s not who we are. Knock off the booing."

Gregg Popovich

Leonard won a Finals MVP with the Spurs during their 2014 championship run. The superstar forward famously left San Antonio after the 2017-18 season to play with the Toronto Raptors, where he won his second Finals MVP en route to Toronto’s first and only championship in franchise history.

After a Nov. 29 Hawks team practice, Murray spoke to Spurs reporter Tom Orsborn about Popovich and lauded his former head coach for his classy principles and professionalism. 

"Pop shouldn't have to do that. Fans should know (better)."

Dejounte Murray

Murray has followed up a fun first year in Atlanta with an impressive start to the 2023-24 campaign. The two-way stud has averaged 19.6 points, 5.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals across his first 17 games of the season. A lifetime 78.9% shooter from the free throw line, Murray has knocked down a career-best 85.5% of his freebies. He has also nailed a career-best 2.2 threes per game on 37.3% accuracy.

On Oct. 30, Murray matched his career-high in scoring with a 41-point explosion against the Minnesota Timberwolves. DJ propelled the Hawks to a 21-point comeback that included a 36-9 run. The former Spur sank 17 of his 24 shot attempts and went 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

The last time Murray played his former team, he dropped 22 points, six boards, and eight dimes in a 126-118 road loss. The Spurs enter their looming matchup with Atlanta on an unfortunate 12-game losing streak. The 8-9 Hawks would move back to .500 with a win over their inexperienced opponents.

With an average age of 23.3 years old, the Spurs boast the youngest roster in the NBA. Rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama is also in danger of missing a game for the first time in his young career. The Spurs currently list him as questionable against the Hawks with hip tightness.

Wembanyama has averaged 19.2 points and 9.5 rebounds across 17 contests. He has also recorded an incredible 2.6 blocks per game. If he sits the Hawks game out, San Antonio could be in for a very long night.

With Murray set for battle against the team that drafted him, the Hawks will look to assert themselves with their superior offensive talent and all-around experience.