Moses Moody stars Jonathan Kuminga struggles during the Vegas Summer League opener

LAS VEGAS — With Moses Moody already having two NBA Summer League games under his belt this year, anticipation at the Warriors’ Las Vegas opener Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center was all about the return of Jonathan Kuminga.

But Moody stole the show and Kuminga’s rust was more than apparent in the Warriors’ 101-88 loss to the New York Knicks.

Moody, 20, scored 34 points in the loss, all coming in the first three quarters of the night. He finished 8-for-13 from the field and 3-for-6 from 3-point range. The sophomore also added five rebounds and two blocks.

The number that really stood out was his free throw attempts. Moody shot the ball 17 times from the charity strip and made 15 of his attempts. During his only season in Arkansas, Moody had a game in which he took 19 free throws in a win against Alabama, in which he scored 26 points.

That kind of aggressiveness is music to Warriors coach Jama Mahlalela’s ears.

“It’s great,” said Mahlalela. “The fact that he comes to the line so often shows that he is aggressive. And when we talk about experimentation and trying things over the summer so these players can be the best versions of themselves for a Warriors team, that’s something we’ve really talked to Moses about a lot.

“Those downhill attacks, pulling contacts, trying to get the goal or at least getting fouled and going to the free-throw line.”

From the start it was clear that Moody was going to have a big night. He amassed 12 points in the first quarter, had gone up to 20 by halftime and lost another 14 points in the third quarter. Moody didn’t come out once in the first quarter, looking like a player trying to prove a point.

Throughout the night he scored in multiple ways. He finished on the edge, hitting jump shots and hitting three 3-pointers after struggling from there in his two California Classic games.

Moody’s aggressiveness was evident when he opened the list of Warriors’ Summer League games in Vegas. Coming into the game, his focus was on just going with the flow and taking it one game at a time. The strategy paid off.

“My attitude really was go out there, don’t force anything, let the game flow, let the game come, and that’s usually how it goes when you trust the process and trust your teammates and play good basketball,” Moody said.

For how great Moody was, Kuminga’s night went in the opposite direction.

Kuminga, 19, flew to Las Vegas on Wednesday and didn’t have much time to settle in after returning from Congo. He was the first Warriors player to be taken out and his lack of condition was immediately apparent. The box score didn’t do him any favors either.

Early in the period, Kuminga was kept scoreless as he walked off the field 0-6 and fired his first shot attempt. He ended up scoring four points and turning the ball around five times. Kuminga went 2-for-10 off the field, missing all four of his shots from deep and all four of his free throws.

Of more concern was that he looked like someone who sometimes wanted to be somewhere other than Summer League and just didn’t always push himself as much as a tight game required most of the time.

Mahlalela didn’t specifically mention Kuminga but said: “We have to find a way that one bad game doesn’t become another bad game.”

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It is not known how much Kuminga will play in Las Vegas. This was another learning experience for him and the Warriors are putting him in positions he’s not quite used to, including handling the ball and making quick decisions.

When he plays in James Wiseman’s anticipated summer league debut on Sunday night and returns to action, Kuminga will be looking for a big comeback. For Friday night’s game, it was clear which former lottery picks of Kuminga and Moody are progressing and playing more lately.

The Warriors are tied 4-0 between the California Classic and the Las Vegas Summer League this summer after winning an NBA championship less than a month ago.

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