Sometimes basketball is a simple game. On Thursday night, the San Antonio Spurs finally started to look for their 7-foot-4 big man when he had an advantage inside. The result was a dominant performance from Victor Wembanyama and a 118-105 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
In a duel with fellow rookie Scoot Henderson, Wemby went off for 30 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 7 steals in just 24 minutes of play. He was absolutely dominant on both ends of the floor.
San Antonio looked to get Wembanyama involved early and often. They ran a lot of two-man action with Devin Vassell and the rookie. Here you can see Vassell set a flex screen for Wembanyama that establishes him in the paint, where Jeremy Sochan finds him for the dump off.
His teammates were clearly looking for Wembanyama on the fast break. All season long it’s been apparent that San Antonio is leaving points on the board when they don’t find Wemby in the open court. It seemed to be a point of emphasis against Portland.
It looks like Tre Jones and Wembanyama have established a real connection on the court. This is just one of the few lobs that the point guard found Wemby on in the game. Even Gregg Popovich seemed to notice how good the pairing can be.
I was really impressed by Wembanyama’s passing ability. It’s something that not many scouts and draft analysts mentioned before he came into the league, but he’s shown the ability to make some extraordinary passes out of double teams. In the clip below, you can see him make one of Zach Collins’ patented bounce passes as a high post playmaking hub.
It’s hard not to come away from this game without being impressed by Sochan’s performance too. He’s been building confidence over the last few games, and seems to be settling into a more comfortable role. On Thursday he had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He was a menace in the open court, getting to the basket at will on the break.
San Antonio will play a second game against the Trail Blazers on Friday night. With Wembanyama’s status up in the air, they’ll need Sochan and the rest of the roster to step up if they want to take both games of this series in Portland.
Check out full game highlights below.