LAS VEGAS — Warriors’ fans, step away from the panic button, it’s only Summer League.
Golden State dropped their third-straight Summer League game, losing 79-74 to the Milwaukee Bucks Friday. The Bucks led by as much as 28 before a late run by the Warriors made the game close.
The Warriors finished summer play with a 2-3 record, three more losses than they had the last four years combined.
Head coach Steve Kerr said that, despite the record, he still saw this week as a success:
“It was a great week for our guys, would have liked to perform a little better but can’t argue with the effort or the attitude… The whole key is you want to get guys playing time and want to get guys exposure and for me as a new coach I needed to feel the game and build a camaraderie with the staff and we accomplished that.”
Friday’s final game was used to evaluate fringe prospects that didn’t get a chance earlier in the tournament, rather than focusing on the outcome.
Nemanja Nedovic and Justin Holiday got minimal run, while Ognjen Kuzmic — who sported sandals on the bench — didn’t dress at all.
Kerr said his goal today was to get everyone on the floor:
“We wanted to get everyone some playing time today, there were four or five guys who have hardly played this week. Obviously it through us out of rhythm in the first half, but they showed they are in the second half by fighting and clawing back into the game and giving us a chance.”
Former Ohio State standout Aaron Craft, who saw no action in the first half, played 16 of the 20 minutes in the second half. Craft led the Warriors in scoring with 10 points while also racking up five rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Craft was also a team high plus-16, and almost led the Warriors to a huge comeback victory.
Santa Cruz Warrior Kiwi Gardner got extended run this game after playing sparingly in Vegas. The 5-foot-7 point guard sparked a big rally late, scoring seven points in less than a minute to close the third quarter.
Gardner said it felt good to finally get on the floor and make an impact:
“It felt good, I got to play a little more today and get in a rhythm and flow, it was a pretty surreal feeling to get up and down and make a couple plays, so it was fun.”
Gardner even drew some “MVP” chants from the crowd at one point:
“That was fun to hear that, it kind of loosened me up a little bit and brought the joy back into the game, getting a couple seconds away from being so serious.”
The game took an ugly turn in the second quarter, with the Warriors managing only eight points, forcing Kerr to use both of his first half timeouts. It did nothing, as the Bucks 45-21 at the half.
Jabari Parker was a beast for the Bucks, scoring 20 points on 8-15 shooting with one highlight baseline dunk, while also grabbing a team high 15 rebounds.