It was a tale of two halves for the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night in their 122-119 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite trailing by 20 points with a little over 11 minutes to play, the Spurs went on a strong run, outscoring the Lakers 45-30 in the fourth quarter.
The Silver and Black were led by their first overall pick, Victor Wembanyama. The rookie had his second 30-point game, adding in 13 rebounds and a game-high 6 blocks.
LOOK AT VICTOR WEMBANYAMA pic.twitter.com/JBKaCxHNaq— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) December 14, 2023
Before the fourth quarter run, this was the most fun sequence of the game. Earlier, Wembanyama had been dunked on by Anthony Davis. Here we see Wemby return the favor, block Max Christie, run the floor and get the alley oop dunk. Just an enormous sequence from the 19-year-old.
It wasn’t his only big dunk. This follow up over the back of Christian Wood is another body for Wembanyama’s collection. In the past two games he’s dunked on Alperen Sengun, Davis and Wood. Clearly he’s starting to get more aggressive attacking the basket.
Part of what makes Wembanyama so tantalizing as a prospect is his ability to shoot and handle the basketball at 7-foot-4. He went 4-5 from three against LA, and had some clutch shots down the stretch. This step back over Davis is a superstar move. If he can add this to his bag consistently, the NBA should watch out.
Wembanyama stepped up to the challenge and went toe-to-toe with Davis. You can check out the full highlights from their matchup below.
Wembanyama wasn’t the only Spur to have a strong performance. Keldon Johnson was critical in San Antonio’s late game comeback. He had 28 points on 10-14 shooting from the field, including some relentless drives to the basket.
After spending the last two games relying on his three-point shot, Johnson finally took the initiative to get the ball inside. He is highly effective when he puts pressure on the rim. The Spurs needed his energy and leadership to get them back into the game on Wednesday.
Speaking of rim pressure, Malaki Branham has been balling since he joined the Spurs new starting lineup featuring Wembanyama at the five. The new lineup has unlocked his downhill driving game. He’s playing much more physical, relying less on dribble pull-ups to get his shot off. Branham had 19 points and a key steal down the stretch. His development will be important for San Antonio this season.
The Spurs will get one more shot at the Lakers at home on Friday. They may see the return of LeBron James, which could make the game the first time we see Wembanyama match up with The King.
Check out the full game highlights below: