What started as another big night in the G League ended with Moses Moody's best game of his young NBA career. This was a Texas road trip to remember for the Warriors rookie.
Moody was with the Santa Cruz Warriors Saturday night at the H-E-B Center against the Austin Spurs of the G League. He did what he has done all year by putting up points with 27 in Santa Cruz's 123-110 win. The shooting guard now is averaging 27.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in the G League.
The Warriors recalled Moody and Steve Kerr rewarded him with a start against the Houston Rockets on Monday night, as Golden State went small by also starting Klay Thompson at small forward and Andrew Wiggins at power forward.
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"He's played great in the G League," Kerr said Monday before the Warriors' 122-108 win vs. the Rockets when asked why Moody was starting with Otto Porter Jr. ruled out. "He's played great in practice, he's continued to improve weekly and had a great night last night in Austin and wanted to get him on the floor for his shooting and defensive versatility to start the night."
Playing just under his career high in minutes, Moody scored 11 points. He went 4-for-7 from field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range and was a minus-3 in plus-minus.
After the win over the Rockets, he said that he's gotten used to going up and down between the G League and the NBA and is comfortable in doing so. All he can promise is to give his teammates and coaches his best, no matter what team he's suiting up for.
"Rather if it's here, rather if it's there, those are still just obstacles and things that I have to overcome," he said. "No matter how far you get, you're gonna still have obstacles. Just because they might look different right now, those same tactics and maneuvers that I use to get past those obstacles now will carry me on, so when those obstacles come in the future, I'll still have those same tools and techniques."
On Tuesday night, Moody didn't have any obstacles in his way during the Warriors' 124-120 comeback win over the San Antonio Spurs. By halftime, Moody had already set career highs in points (14) and 3-pointers (four) in his 29th NBA game -- and only his third start. The 19-year-old wound up scoring 20 points, had seven rebounds and went 6-for-10 from beyond the arc. He was a plus-1 in plus-minus.
With the Splash Brothers stuck to the bench, Moody was the one making the nets drip in San Antonio.
Moody's confidence has never wavered through a tricky rookie year. The No. 14 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft always knew his time would come. Now, he's ready to take advantage of it.
"Yeah, it's an opportunity," Moody said Tuesday night. "I've been waiting patiently on it, I knew it would come. Now that it's my time to shine, I've been preparing. When preparation meets opportunity, that's when things happen."
Golden State Warriors
It was clear that Moody was feeling his shot right from the start. He scored six points in the first quarter and eight in the second. In each of the first two quarters, he hit two 3-pointers. Moody's shot from deep usually is more fluid when he has time to load and then release but he was ready to catch and shoot for Golden State.
His shot and shooting ability is evident during Warriors practice and in G League games. It was his heart and hustle that really earned him even more respect from his coaches and teammates at AT&T Center.
"I thought Moses, not just the shooting and the scoring, but diving on the floor late in the game, fighting for every loose ball, offensive rebounds -- Moses is a competitor and winner," Kerr said.
Jordan Poole hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with only 17.9 points left to complete the Warriors' comeback. None of that would have happened if it wasn't for Moody's fight.
Following a missed Poole 3-point attempt, Spurs All-Star Dejounte Murray appeared to have the missed shot in his hands. A racing Moody thought otherwise. He popped the ball loose, jumped on top of it and pushed it forward to Damion Lee, who found an open Poole in the corner.
"That was the play that won the game," Poole said. "That was the one that did it. That hustle play, that effort play -- especially in such a crucial time and especially for a guy who's fresh in this league -- to know how to make that play, all credit to Moses."
Austin. Houston. San Antonio.
Moses Moody pulled off the ultra-rare Texas Three-Step. The trip was highlighted by his career-night in the box score. It was defined by his heart, hustle and willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
The Warriors have another teenager ready to shine, making their present and future as bright as ever.