Moody shines, Kuminga struggles in Vegas Summer League opener


LAS VEGAS -- With Moses Moody already having two NBA Summer League games under his belt this year, the anticipation going into the Warriors' Las Vegas opener Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center was all about the return of Jonathan Kuminga. 

But Moody stole the show and Kuminga's rust was more than evident in the Warriors' 101-88 loss to the New York Knicks. 

Moody, 20, scored 34 points in the loss, with all of them coming in the first three quarters of the night. He finished 8-for-13 from the field and 3-for-6 from 3-point range. The second-year pro also added five rebounds and two blocks. 

The number that really stood out was his free throw attempts. Moody shot the ball 17 times from the charity stripe and made 15 of his attempts. During his one season at Arkansas, Moody did have a game where he took 19 free throws in a win over Alabama in which he scored 26 points. 

That kind of aggressiveness is music to Warriors coach Jama Mahlalela's ears. 

"It's great," Mahlalela said. "For him to get to the line that many times, shows he's aggressive. And again, as we talk about experimentation and trying things in the summer so these players can be the best versions of themselves for a Warriors team, that's something we've really talked a lot to Moses about.

"Those downhill attacks, drawing contact, trying to finish or at least get fouled and go to the free throw line." 

Right from the start, it was clear Moody was in for a big night. He put up 12 points in the first quarter, was up to 20 at halftime and dropped another 14 in the third quarter. Moody didn't come out once in the first quarter and looked like a player trying to prove a point. 

Throughout the night, he scored in a plethora of ways. He finished at the rim, he hit jump shots and hit three 3-pointers after struggling from there in his two California Classic game. 

To open the Warriors' slate of summer league games in Vegas, Moody's aggressiveness was evident. Coming into the game, he was focused on simply going with the flow and taking it one play at a time. The strategy paid off. 

"My mindset was really to go out there, don't force anything, let the game flow, let the game come and that's how it usually goes when you trust the process and trust your teammates and play good basketball," Moody said. 

For how great Moody was, Kuminga's night went the opposite way. 

Kuminga, 19, flew into Las Vegas on Wednesday and didn't have much time to get settled after coming back from the Congo. He was the first Warriors player taken out and his lack of conditioning showed right away. The box score didn't do him any favors either. 

Going into halftime, Kuminga was held scoreless while going 0-for-6 from the field and airballed his first shot attempt. He wound up scoring four points and turned the ball over five times. Kuminga went 2-for-10 from the field, missed all four of his shots from deep and all four of his free throws. 

What was more concerning was that he looked like someone that wanted to be anywhere else but summer league at times, and simply didn't always give the kind of effort that was needed in what was a close game much of the time. 

Mahlalela didn't specifically mention Kuminga, but did say "We have to figure a way to not let one bad play turn into a second bad play." 

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It's unknown how much Kuminga will play going forward in Las Vegas. This was another learning experience for him and the Warriors are putting him in positions he's not quite used to yet, including handling the ball and making quick decisions. 

If he does play Sunday night in what is expected to be James Wiseman's summer league debut and return to game action, Kuminga will look for a big bounce-back performance. For Friday night's game, it was clear which former lottery pick out of Kuminga and Moody is further along and has been playing more as of late.

Between the California Classic and the Las Vegas Summer League, the Warriors are 0-4 this summer after winning an NBA championship not even one month ago.

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