Today was my first day in Las Vegas for summer league and I have to say it's easy to find yourself on basketball overload after taking in six hours of summer league ball that can run from ragged to unwatchable.
Regardless, the place is also sort of a hoop junkie's dream: it's not often that you get to walk around and see first round draft picks just hanging out everywhere with some of the league's top execs walking among them. And I also briefly passed Joe Lacob in the hall, which was cool and all too.
But tonight's game was a nice sign of progress for rookie forward Harrison Barnes, who looked far more confident than his first three in scoring game-high 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds. And then there's Kent Bazemore's 7 blocks.
I'll have more from Vegas tomorrow, but for now I've just put a few of the notes I took on the game after the jump.
Starters: Harrison Barnes, Kent Bazemore, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green, Charles Jenkins
- Jenkins got to the basket for a nice layup to score the first points of the night.
- Ezeli made a strong move to the bucket on the second possession, but again couldn't finish.
- A pull up jumper (long 2) in transition isn't always the best shot, but it was still nice to see the poise with which Barnes hit it.
- His next attempt was a fadeaway jumper from the right wing.
- The Warriors have shown some nice defense early, forcing a shot clock violation and getting two nice blocks.
- Ezeli is aggressively looking for his scoring opportunities again and his footwork and positioning look great but he's just not finishing.
- Loved Draymond Green's aggression in the paint to get to the free throw line with 6"48 left. He yelled "AND ONE!" on both attempts and got the call on the second.
- The Bulls have really active hands right now and have already created a couple of steals, one off Bazemore and one off Jenkins just from being careless with the ball.
- Jimmy Butler is all but face guarding Harrison Barnes early after he got a few looks early. With Butler all over him in the first quarter, Barnes is 1-for-4 for two points with 5:30 left in the first and the Warriors are now down 7-6 after the Bulls' defense has stopped them to lead a 6-2 run.
- Ezeli is fairly outstanding as a help defender. With 5:17 left, his rotation led to the ball being knocked out of bounds with two seconds left on the shot clock.
- Marquis Teague is really doing a job on Charles Jenkins right now - Jenkins has three turnovers already, having been stripped twice and tossed the ball out of bounds once.
- Butler continues to do an outstanding job on Barnes. He's following him around every screen and not helping off of him. Barnes is breathing hard at this point and just isn't getting many open opportunities.
- Jenkins is forcing the issue a bit - he's able to get by Teague, but similar to what happened against Miami they're just collapsing and forcing him into tough decisions.
- Barnes' spin in the lane to draw a foul with 2:50 left was impressive. He lost two defenders and managed to draw a foul at the rim. As we've discussed, it would be nice to see someone with his length and athleticism finish that play a little stronger though. Or in the event he finds himself in between three guys, it would be nice to see him keep his balance and find an open teammate off that move.
- Burrell's put back with 46 seconds left was probably more of an example of his athleticism than good positioning.
- Erratic point guard play on both ends thus far. Teague's defense has been great in pressuring Charles Jenkins into turnovers and Ragland into some tough choices, but he's 1-for-6 shooting right now.
- Score at the end of one quarter is 20-18 Bulls. Rakim Sanders leads the Warriors with four points while Draymond Green had to go to the bench early with four fouls. Jimmy Butler and Malcolm Thomas lead the Bulls in scoring and Thomas has 9 rebounds early on.
- Jermaine Taylor has made some impressive passes thus far for the Bulls although not all of them have resulted in assists.
- Impressive defensive effort from the Warriors' second team.
- Pete Myers called Jenkins and Barnes in the second he saw the Bulls send Marquis Teague to the scorer's table, but it's not clear that Jenkins was playing that much better. After Ragland had just hit a shot, it might've been nice to see Ragland stay in the game.
- barnes' shot with 6:39 left was an excellent example of what everyone is hoping from him. Off the dribble from the right wing, he stopped on a dime and pulled up to nail a jumper. He spent less effort fading away and created just enough space between him and his defender to score.
- Bazemore has been outstanding as a help defender, using his athleticism to block shots tonight.
- Barnes baseline fadeaway with 356 left made me cringe, but that's an impossible shot to defend if he can make it consistently.
- Barnes came down on the next possession and knocked down a three from the right wing, which is where he seems to be doing all his (successful) work tonight. He just looks a lot more confident tonight, particularly with the use of his dribble - rather than toy with the ball he's setting himself up to get a move and/or take a shot as soon as he gets it and being more decisive.
- Bazemore with another block on a driving Marquis Teague.
- Barnes did a nice job rotating over to cut off a passing lane with a Bulls player trapped in the corner with just over two minutes left. His instincts off the ball are solid.
- Jenkins got a pass to the wing stolen with just over a minute left and although he recovered to create a turnover on the other end.
- Score is 37-32 Warriors at halftime. Barnes has a team-high 6 boards to go with his game-high 10 points.
- Good to see that Green got back in the game and was able to be productive after the four early fouls. While people might question his 3-point shot, he's got a nice mid-range jumper when he gets his feet set.
- I still like Ezeli's aggression in turning and attacking the basket, but he's still 0-for-3.
- Defensively though, Ezeli can contribute - he got a nice block with just under 5:30 to go in the third and did a little posturing and talking afterwards. Unnecessary? Probably. But this guy wants to be an intimidator and that's something the Warriors have sorely lacked for years.
- Bazemore has been extremely impressive today as a defender. He's absolutely relentless without being reckless and that kind of effort can keep a player in the league if they show any kind of offensive ability.
- Barnes' on-ball defense will probably be his biggest adjustment. He let Jimmy Butler blow right by him with little-to-no resistance for a layup and was left flat footed.
- One thing that's noticeable about Ezeli is that he can overhelp at times, which leaves his man open. On the basket the Bulls made with just under four minutes left, Ezeli came over to help Green before allowing Green the chance to recover. When Green did recover, it left the Warriors with two guys on the ball and Ezeli's man wide open under the basket.
- Full disclosure: I didn't know who Kent Bazemore was until summer league began, but he had 7 blocks at the end of three.
- Score: 53-47
- The Warriors have maintained a lead in this game because of their defense, but with two minutes left Chicago is making a run due to some Warriors' defensive breakdowns.
- Back to Marquis Teague: he does a few things well, defense being among them. And he does a reasonable job of breaking his man down and creating space. But he cannot seem to finish around the rim at all.