Notes From Media Row: Golden State Warriors Beat New Orleans Hornets To Finish Summer League Undefeated

With the Golden State Warriors' 80-72 win over the New Orleans Hornets today (boxscore), they closed out the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League undefeated and are the unofficial "champions" as one reporter put it.

Charles Jenkins led the way with 15 points, 4 assists, and no turnovers today while Harrison Barnes and Kent Bazemore added 13 points. I was particularly impressed with Kent Bazemore who likely won't make the team but fits that mold of a guy who plays extremely hard and can play some defense.

Today I got some brief post game interviews with Barnes, Jenkins, and Draymond Green, which I'll put together later. Barnes came out just as the bus was about to pull off after an autograph signing session so that one was a little short, but I enjoyed chatting with Green and Jenkins.

As usual, for now I'll just share the notes that I made during the game from press row.

Warriors' starters: Harrison Barnes, Kent Bazemore, Festus Ezeli, Charles Jenkins, Jeremy Tyler.

First quarter

  • Kent Bazemore made a great move to the basket for the Warriors' first bucket. He looked much more in control on that move.
  • For anyone wondering, I don't see how Festus Ezeli picked up that first foul. He was standing in position on the shallow corner and his man just leaned into him as he threw up the shot.
  • I was talking to some media members who had seen Jeremy Tyler play and practice in the D-League and it really seems that if he just decided to do one or two things well - rebound and defend - he could make a solid career for himself in the league. Early on, I liked some of what he did - he got a strong defensive rebound and then had a strong post move on the other end to get himself to the free throw line.
  • Harrison Barnes is matched up with 6'8" Lance Thomas, who is a load for him on both ends. His early shots are reminiscent of how he played against Jordan Hamilton: wild shots, struggling to find and room to find a clean look.
  • That said, having watched Matthew Bryan-Amaning quite a bit at UW, I would expect Barnes to be able to go by him. That he ended up not able to beat him off the dribble and instead had to take an off-balance fallaway shot is a little disappointing.
  • Kent Bazemore has an outstanding feel of how to use his speed to his advantage on the basketball court. That's not something every player has. He gets to the basket without any fancy ball handling and finishes strong, either scoring or drawing the foul. It's impressive, to say the least.
  • Nice to see Ezeli finish a post play with under four minutes. He's looked increasingly patient by the game in the post.
  • It's easy to pick on Tyler, but he's been solid on defense today - he's rotating well and is doing a great job trapping around the perimeter.
  • Lance Thomas has done a good job on Barnes today - Barnes finished the first quarter 0-3 with 2 points. Charles Jenkins leads the Warriors with 6 points on 3-for-6 shooting. Warriors up 19-14 to end the first.

Second quarter

  • Draymond in the game. The Warriors only played 5 players in the first quarter.
  • Loved to see Draymond Green leading the break with 8:28 left, even though Xavier Henry fouled to prevent the layup. Love what he offers.
  • Barnes is struggling to guard Freeman so far this quarter - he was late rotating over on a jumper from the right wing and got beat off the dribble on the next possession.
  • Draymond Green is playing smart so far defensively. He picked up a nice block here just by timing the release of the shooter and preventing him from getting the shot up.
  • On Freeman's next basket - a runner coming across the lane - Barnes just got lost when Freeman cut off a screen. He just seemed a half second slow to reacting to Freeman's change of pace on the weakside.
  • There was a possession with under six minutes where Barnes took his eyes completely off his man on the left wing to sort of hedge over 3/4 of the way between the ball and his man.
  • When Barnes gets his feet set, shoulders square and jumps straight up, he's an outstanding shooter. The problems arise when he contorts, fades, or twists to make a shot. The other problem is that defenders like Jordan Hamilton and Lance Thomas simply haven't given him a whole lot of opportunity to get clean looks like that.
  • Very nice to see Justin Burrell look for contact in the post today. Early on in summer league, it looked like he avoided it.
  • Rakim Sanders made a great move to the basket from the left block at around the four minute mark. He has impressed me all summer league with his aggression on the defensive end - like they sometimes say about NFL running backs, he's a guy that seems to embrace contact.

Third quarter

  • Barnes' turnover - his second of the game - came in the first minute of the third when he was leading the fast break. That just pretty much reinforces what a number of us has said previously: right now, he's not an efficient ball handler after 1-2 dribbles.
  • Jeremy Tyler's one handed reverse dunk was an outstanding example of what he can do when he's under control and a little bit more patient. The next possession where he spun into his defender and went nowhere was an example of the opposite.
  • Freeman is now guarding Barnes and vice versa. Barnes is 0-2 at the 5:27 mark. Thomas is just a load for either Barnes or Tyler (who has him now) and Tyler picked up a foul just trying to stay with him on the move.
  • 6'6" Xavier Henry is now in the game guarding Barnes and forced him into a fadeaway jumper just inside the 3-point arc.
  • They've had Bazemore working off screens on offense a few times and with his speed he's almost impossible to keep up with in that situation. The only thing that prevented him from scoring around the four minute mark was that he was given the jumper and missed. The form on his jumper looks fine. If he ever improves his efficiency, he'll be a very productive player.
  • Green almost traveled when he and Jenkins miscommunicated on a cut. Once the play was over Green, immediately came over to share his thoughts on what should've happened. I agreed with Green on that one - Jenkins probably should've cut because his defender's head was turned and Green would've hit him for the layup.
  • Green scored on a drive from the high post after not finding an open teammate. Patience, poise under pressure, finishing strong. Seriously, every time I watch this guy play I feel like using terms most people reserve for vets.
  • Just in general, I love how vocal Green is. Sometimes that level of expressiveness can manifest in negative ways like when he waved his hand at Rakim Sanders after throwing a ball out of bounds instead of swinging the ball to him (Green was wide open and the defense had committed entirely to the right side) but it mostly comes out in giving advice and helping to make sure things run smoothly (to the extent possible in summer league).
  • The score is 56-48 after three.

Fourth quarter

  • The Hornets made a run to start the quarter and closed the deficit to 57-60.
  • Barnes made a beautiful pass to Burrell for a layup around the seven minute mark.
  • In addition to everything else Bazemore has done, he just took a charge around 5:30 mark.
  • Barnes made a nice drive into the lane and hit one of those one-handed floaters that he's taken so much. Again, short decisive dribbles are when he's at his best.
  • Barnes hit a nice jumper from the left wing and should've drawn a foul call.
  • Justin Burrell put an EXCLAMATION MARK on his summer league performance with a nice dunk after gathering a loose ball.
  • This will not show up in the boxscore, but Barnes made an excellent decision with 1:22 left to set up Justin Burrell's trip to the line for two shots. Barnes got the ball in the corner and without a second thought immediately got the ball into Burrell on the left block before his man could rotate over to defend the pass. It was subtle, but Barnes is a smart player and he could really thrive in the league just by making the simple plays like that.
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