After a pair of impressive wins over Denver and New Orleans in the first two games of the Las Vegas Summer League, the Bucks’ quest for an undefeated campaign came to an end Tuesday with an 84-72 loss to the Warriors.
The defeat drops Milwaukee to 2-1, and they will have the day off Wednesday as they await their seeding in the league’s inaugural tournament-style championship.
Golden State (3-0) won three of four quarters and was paced by 13 points and nine rebounds from Lance Gouldbourne. Kent Bazemore, Ian Clark and Cam Jones each chipped in 11 points, while Michael Eric hauled in a team-high 11 boards.
Some news and notes from Tuesday’s contest:
- An impressive streak: Tuesday’s win not only improved the Warriors’ record to 3-0 but also extended one of the more remarkable – and irrelevant – active winning streaks in basketball. Golden State has now won 11 consecutive Las Vegas Summer League games dating back to 2010 – a pretty impressive feat considering the volatility and unpredictability of summer league rosters. The Warriors will look to make it a dozen straight victories later this week when tournament play begins.
- Poor shooting all-around: Milwaukee shot a dreadful 18-63 (28.6 percent) from the floor and connected on just six of 35 field goal attempts in the first half. Mike Breuesewitz, who entered the game late in the fourth quarter, was the only Bucks player to make better than 40 percent of his shots (2-for-2, six points). Small sample size, sure, but a collectively atrocious shooting display nonetheless. However, Golden State didn’t exactly set the nets on fire either, shooting 40.5 percent from the floor.
- Free throws save the day – sort of: Had it not been for the Bucks’ ability to repeatedly get to the charity stripe, the game likely would have been decided by halftime. Fifteen of Milwaukee’s first 27 points came at the line, and the Bucks converted 29-of-35 total free throw attempts compared to just 8-of-16 for Golden State. Dominique Jones (7-for-8) and rookie second-round pick Nate Wolters (6-for-7) accounted for nearly half of Milwaukee’s attempts, while Warriors’ big men Michael Eric, Gary McGhee and Draymond Green combined for 15 total fouls.
- Jones continues to impress: As has been the case in each of the three contests, Jones emerged as the Bucks’ floor leader and most aggressive player offensively. He’s clearly a cut above most of the talent on Milwaukee’s roster and his three years of professional experience are certainly evident. Though he finished with just 11 points (a team-high) on 2-of-6 shooting, the former South Florida star is averaging 15.0 per game after putting up 18 and 16 against the Nuggets and Pelicans, respectively. Through the first trio of games, Jones has worked to bully his way to the rim and has attempted a team-high 25 free throws. The 25th overall selection in the 2010 draft, Jones found himself buried on a deep Mavericks team early in his career and was subsequently waived in March of 2013. He played the remainder of the season with the Springfield Armor of the D-League and looks to be one of the top candidates to earn a training camp invitation.
- Henson struggles: Heralded as one of the top players participating in the Las Vegas Summer League, Henson struggled on the offensive end Tuesday. The lanky, second-year man scored just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting in 29 minutes, despite matching up with the undersized Draymond Green for much of the game. Perhaps more concerning was his inability to take care of the ball, as he committed eight turnovers – many of which came near the basket. However, the poor showing is certainly nothing to dwell on as Henson’s offensive game is still very much a work in progress at this point. His defense, on the other hand, is another story. Henson grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds – including nine in the first quarter alone – in addition to blocking three shots and limiting Green to 2-of-12 shooting.
- Nate Wolters gets his chance: After averaging 17.5 minutes per game over the team’s first two contests, Wolters played nearly 29 minutes in his third game as a pro. The South Dakota State product paired with Jones in the backcourt for much of the game and put a up a respectable 10 points on 2-of-7 shooting to go with three rebounds and two assists. However, the 6-4, 190-pound Wolters (he looks considerably smaller on the court) did not appear overly comfortable as the primary ball-handler. He committed just two turnovers but found himself constantly hounded by Golden State’s quicker guards and was unable to relax and set up the offense on a consistent basis – it was as if he was constantly trying to break a full-court press. Wolters did an excellent job of maintaining his dribble while under pressure but will need to incorporate some changes in pace to create space beyond the three-point line and avoid situations in which he’s forced into starting the offense from a less-than-ideal position on the court. A few times on Tuesday, he found himself in a pick-and-roll scenario where he hurriedly dished off to the roll man well above the free throw line, limiting the play’s effectiveness. Due to the Warriors’ extensive on-ball pressure, Wolters was consistently able to beat the primary defender but had trouble finishing over bigger help defenders – it’s an issue often faced by young, small-school players who simply were not used to elite big men patrolling the painted area in college.
- Ish-ues: With Wolters seeing increased minutes, Smith’s playing time inevitably took a dip Tuesday. Smith played just under 18 minutes, but that didn’t stop the former Wake Forest star from attempting 10 shots. He connected on just two of those attempts, finishing with four points, four rebounds and three assists. Smith showed flashes of his potential after coming to Milwaukee at the deadline as part of the J.J. Redick deal, and he remains in line to see some minutes as a backup to whoever starts at point guard for the Bucks next season. Like Wolters, however, he had difficulties finishing at the rim, and his outside shot remains shaky at best. Still, he’s an absolute blur in the open court and is easily the most impressive ball-handler on Milwaukee’s summer roster. He and Wolters were briefly on the floor together at the beginning of the second quarter, but it’s not likely the two will play alongside one another during the regular season.
- Steve Novak 2.0?: Former Northwestern standout John Shurna has drawn some comparisons to Raptors’ guard – and Marquette alum – Steve Novak. Like Novak, Shurna is nearly 6-foot-10 and enjoyed a successful collegiate career at a prestigious Midwestern school, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll get the chance to showcase his skills in the NBA. Shurna connected on 2-of-5 three-pointers Tuesday, putting him at 7-of-13 overall from deep in the three contests. He was reportedly very close to making the Knicks’ roster last fall and will certainly get some training camp looks as a three-point specialist.
- Clint Chapman dunked the ball: Clint Chapman, who you may remember from his days as a Texas Longhorn, threw down a semi-thunderous dunk over Golden State’s Michael Eric with 6:30 left in the final period. Chapman drove left and flushed it down with one hand, resulting in some very brief excitement from the NBATV commentators and sparse arena crowd. The Bucks picked off the ensuing inbounds pass, leading to a tough Wolters layup plus the foul.
- Wisconsin’s own: Rookies Junior Cadougan (Marquette) and Mike Breuesewitz (Wisconsin) saw their first Las Vegas League action Tuesday, as both entered the game with under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Cadougan was held scoreless on 0-of-2 shooting but handed out two assists, while “The Bruiser” chipped in six quick points – both via three-pointers. To no one’s surprise, it remains very unlikely either of the two will be in the NBA next season.
- Quite the honor: For what it’s worth, the NBATV crew pointed out (via The Basketball Jones) that when Giannis Antetokounmpo makes his NBA debut, he will own the elusive title of the NBA’s longest last name. Of course, former-Buck Chris Douglas-Roberts’ surname clocks in at 14 letters – one more than Giannis’ tongue-twister – but the hyphenation is certainly a point of contention, so we’re going to assign the title to the aptly-named “Greek Freak.”
- An unlikely combo: Also per the NBATV broadcast, Golden State’s Lance Goulbourne – a former teammate of current-Warrior Festus Ezeli at Vanderbilt – was a two-sport star at the SEC school. We’ve seen guys like Julius Peppers and Antonio Gates (of the San Diego Chargers) play both football and hoops in college, but have you ever heard of a guy who also starred for the tennis team?
- What a beard: Extraneous? Sure. Important? Definitely. Golden State’s Dwayne Davis has to be the clubhouse leader for the best beard of the 2013 summer league. The Southern Miss product bears striking resemblance to James Harden (and I mean really striking) and chipped in 10 points in the victory. The only summer league facial hair I’ve seen that comes close is that of Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn.