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Moses Moody battles cut eye in Warriors’ California Classic loss

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SAN FRANCISCO — Not even five minutes into his 2022 California Classic debut on Sunday at the Chase Center, it looked like Moses Moody’s night was going to be cut short. Literally.

Moody suffered a cut over his left eye at 7:22 in the first quarter of the Warriors’ Summer League game against the Los Angeles Lakers, a crushing 100-77 loss. With blood pouring out, Moody was forced to go to the locker room. He received two points and returned to the field with just over eight minutes remaining in the first half, sporting a tan bandage over his left eye.

What was most frustrating for Moody was a small surprise. It wasn’t her vision that was affected. It was the return of disgusting nicknames.

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When Moody suffered a black eye from an elbow early in his start against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 1, the rookie didn’t stop listening to the jokes of his older teammates. Now, they are back.

“It sucks, because I got rid of my nicknames after it happened earlier in the year, but they all came back,” Moody told reporters. “Calling me ‘Bar Fight,’ ‘Captain Jack.’ They’re all going to come back.”

The 20-year-old, who is expected to make a big leap in Year 2 and see a bigger role next season, started out as a facilitator for the Warriors and was feeling the game. He got going in the second quarter on his return and finished the first half with nine points and a game-high turnover.

Eleven seconds after his first bucket, Moody took a load on the other side of the floor. That’s part of what makes the Warriors so intrigued by the 14th overall pick in the 2021 draft. He’s already a pro of the pros.

Moody doesn’t play like someone who was a teenager two months ago, nor does he present himself as such.

The Warriors’ starting lineup consisted of Moody, Lester Quiñones, Justinian Jessup, Gui Santos and Selom Mawugbe. Outside of Moody, that’s two second-round picks, two undrafted players and none with NBA experience. Unlike what he is used to at the Chase Center, Moody was a victim of his surroundings.

He didn’t score in the second half, missing all five of his shot attempts and turning the ball over four times. Moody shot 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-4 from deep. His minus-24 was the worst game for either side and lower than any plus-minus he produced as a rookie, in the regular season and playoffs.

“For Moses specifically, I’d say a little bit of that, for sure,” Warriors California Classic coach Seth Cooper said when asked if Moody’s turnovers were more a result of not being used to his teammates than anything else. “His ball handling, his decision making, his reading, his comfort level, everything, the more he’s in those situations where now other teams are trying to get him out and make him unable to catch the ball, that’s something that he didn’t really go all year being the focal point of the team for us offensively. I think he was a mixed bag, but the more he does it, the more comfortable he’ll be.

“We’ve all seen him be able to make all the plays. We wouldn’t put him in those situations if we hadn’t seen him do it in practice and we knew he’s fully capable and confident to do it.”

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Quiñones, the Memphis product the Warriors signed to a two-way deal on draft night, scored 19 points and added five rebounds. He shot 6-for-13 overall and 3-for-6 from 3-point range. Last season as a Memphis junior, Quiñones shot 39 percent from 3-point range.

That’s a name to watch out for going forward, but Moody’s development in his game overall will continue to be near the top of the Warriors’ Summer League to-do list.

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