When the Golden State Warriors took on the Milwaukee Bucks in their final game in the Summer League at the Thomas and Mack Center, most fans came out to see second overall pick, Jabari Parker. Little did they know that Kiwi Gardner would steal the show in the second half. Gardner hadn’t played much in the first four games for the Warriors, but head coach Steve Kerr decided to give some of his players that hadn’t seen the floor much the opportunity to show what they can do in the fifth and final game.
Garder went into the game early and was active on both ends of the floor. He was doing a great job of penetrating the defense and kicking the ball out to the open man, but his teammates couldn’t knock down the open shot to get him the assist. With less than a minute left in the third quarter, Gardner decided to attack the basket with ferocity. In a span of about 46 seconds, Gardner scored seven points, including a bucket plus the foul that got the entire crowd riled up.
While he stood at the free throw line, the entire crowd began chanting “MVP”, which may have been the only time in this Summer League that a player received that type of ovation. Gardner calmly walked up to the charity strike and sunk his free throw to complete the three point play. Gardner would go on to score the last bucket of the quarter, cutting the Bucks lead to 17 and giving the Warriors hope entering the fourth quarter.
Gardner was just what the doctor ordered. The energy and passion that he brings to the game is infectious whether he is on the floor or the sidelines. Midway through the fourth quarter, the entire team seemed focused on getting a chance to win the game as the lead was reduced to 12. With a little over three minutes left in the game, Gardner returned to the floor and he looked poised to get his team the victory.
After back to back three point buckets from Tyrus McGee, the lead was down to only five and the Warriors were within striking distance. Parker quickly answered with an amazing reverse dunk, but the Warriors kept clawing away. Unfortunately, the closest the Warriors would get was three points, but at least they made it an interesting game after being down as much as 28 points.
Although he won’t take the credit, Gardner had a lot to do with that comeback. More importantly, Gardner was able to show that he is a very good player and exciting to watch. We caught up with him after the game, check out what he had to say in the video above.