The Golden State Warriors fourth Las Vegas Summer League game was not lacking for excitement, as they beat the Denver Nuggets 73-69 in a high-energy, late-night contest.
It started slow but ended in an exciting manner.
Here are some thoughts documented from press row at the Thomas and Mack Center as the game transpired:
The Warriors came out incredibly sloppy and rusty. Very little ball movement or purpose to their offense.
On one early possession, Travis Wear had the ball at the top of the key, and looked for a cutter but no one was moving. A few loud exclamations – most of which appeared directed at Alen Smailagic – and Wear settled for the jumper he never wanted to take (but he made it). This was a bit of a theme in the quarter.
There really wasn’t much shot creation for the Warriors – everything stagnated – but Jacob Evans III displayed a few very nice passes.
Evans’ jumper also was smooth. You can see the increased confidence over the last few games, even if he’s still having trouble getting to the rim.
On the whole, the murky offense was costly, as the Warriors scored only 13 points in the initial frame, and had just two assists.
Julian Washburn – who was not waived as was initially reported – certainly has an NBA body, but his jump shot has been very flat and lacking rhythm.
Jordan Poole showed off a slick move at the elbow, faking a spin, and turning back into a jumper.
Smailagic’s jumper is very smooth in person. His numbers show that he’s not yet a good shooter, but the mechanics are there for a big man. Not only smooth, but easily repeatable.
Smailagic also has good timing when rolling to the hoop, and gets creative with some movement. Excited to see what he can do with a better playmaker.
Golden State’s offense was only marginally better in the second quarter. There was certainly more effort and energy, but increased sloppiness. Back to looking like they haven’t played much basketball lately.
Ultimately, the Dubs only topped their first quarter total by one point, as they scored just 14.
Smailagic showed some nice strength with a powerful move under the hoop. Certainly needs to add to his low-post offensive game, but the strength – at 18 – is encouraging.
Oakland native Juan Toscano-Anderson had some very nice moves on both sides of the court. The 26-year old plays professionally overseas.
The Warriors had a smoother third quarter in terms of offense, but that’s partially due to Denver’s defense taking some plays off. It is 10:00 p.m. and a long week, after all.
Warriors open the fourth with much tighter defense, much to the delight of the Vegas Warriors faithful who chant “Defense! Defense! Defense!”. Their roster players are on the bench but extremely involved and energized as they encourage their teammates.
A huge run by Golden State makes for an exciting and close game, and the “Warrrrrrrrriors” chants rain down.
After countless steals leading to transition opportunities, the Warriors take the lead with just over three minutes remaining, and the crowd goes wild.
It was a lifeless first half, but the fourth quarter has been extremely fun.
Non-Warriors note: Jarred Vanderbilt is very talented, and an unbelievable rebounder.
The results of Summer League games may not matter in any grand sense, but they certainly matter to the people playing this game. They are highly invested.
The Warriors had a ton of clutch stops in the final minutes, and get the big come-from-behind win.