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Devin Vassell exploded to lead the Spurs to victory over the Lakers

There can only be four: wins—hopefully more to come!

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Copy/paste that bronze medal meme of man overly celebrating, kissing a woman, and popping champagne despite coming in third, while the gold and silver medalists stare at him in confusion. Copy/paste the climatic scene in Silver Linings Playbook when Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence celebrate an average score of 5 (out of 10) while everyone else in the local Philadelphia dance hall stares in confusion. Copy/paste the climatic scene in Highlander when Connor MacLeod defeats his rival and absorbs his power.

Why the “Princes of the Universe” (Queen, 1986) reference? By defeating the Lakers and defeating their franchise-high losing streak, I believe the Spurs have the right to claim LeBron James’s hard-earned In-Season Tournament trophy like the immortal Christopher Lambert claimed Clancy Brown’s powers. Sure that may seem ridiculous, but what’s more ridiculous is that Sean Connery (a Scottish actor) played a swordsman from Spain in a movie that takes place in Scotland!

Hopefully this win is not the highlight of the young Spurs’ season, but it’s the highlight of our Friday night. Devin Vassell led all players with a career-high 36 points. He went 5 - 10 from downtown and was perfect from the free throw line. Keldon Johnson contributed 17 points while Victor Wembanyama notched a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The Spurs have been waiting for a signature Devin Vassell game, and he couldn’t have picked a better game than on Friday night to bust the team out of its hibernation. Vassell was NBA Jamming as his 12 - 19 shooting was simply en fuego.

Vassell’s breakout season is still very much on the table, and the Spurs and Spurs fans alike will welcome more games like this one against the Lakers where he led the charge and led the team to victory.

Did the Spurs win the NBA title? No. Did they win the In-Season Tournament that the media (the “media”) and ratings experts (“experts”) are trying to convince me is uber important? No. Did they win for the first time since November 2, 2023, which coincidentally was the game that I wrote a highlights article for PtR? Yes. So excuse me if I can’t hear you over the glee of Victor’s hype fest at the Frost Center.

On this play, Wembanyama made some jam with this sweet marmalade of a flush at the rim. His footwork, quickness, and tenacity continues to amaze. And quite frankly, it’s infectious. You can feel the home crowd feed off his energy.

Vassell’s sweet moves in this poetic turnaround jumper was a thing of beauty. Call me an old man who loves his old school basketball and still has cable television, but I do like a good old-fashioned post move.

Speaking of post moves, Zach Collins showed off his skills down low with this nifty bucket in the paint. Collins had 16 points and 6 rebounds in almost 19 minutes of play off the bench. In four games of the Wembanyama center experiment, Collins had his best game off the bench. Going forward, the former 10th overall pick will look to continue to provide a boost as the first big to come off the bench.

Always the beastly bull. Never the awkward aardvark. Keldon Johnson rams his way to a well-earned bucket to the euphoria of the home crowd. Johnson has been a steady source of points, providing at least 20 in 3 of the last 5 games.

In this sequence, Wembanyama showed off his passing skills with a nice feed to Jeremy Sochan for the quick two. The rookie phenom was more of a distributor this game with 5 dimes, and his previous career-high of 7 assists suggest there’s plenty of room for improvement on his play-making abilities in addition to his plentiful bag of basketball skills.

What I appreciate most about Wembanyama is that he could finish most baskets without leaving his feet. But he finishes strong at the bucket, which speaks to his aggressive mentality and the fact he does not take any play for granted. While points might come naturally for hims on some nights, the effort is always there.

This beautiful transition sequence churning defense into buttery smooth offense should always be on the menu. KJ’s touch pass back to Sochan is truly a chef’s kiss of a finish.

If you missed the game because you were too busy reminiscing about the golden age of television shows like Highlander: The Series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Xena: Warrior Princess; here are the full-game highlights:

Next up, the Spurs remain at home for a match-up against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, December 17, 2023.