One thing about the Spurs’ first five wins of the season was, at times, it always felt like it would take a Herculean effort from one or multiple players for the team to overcome itself. Against the Rockets, it took 20-plus points from all three of Victor Wembanyama, Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson just to win in OT. The Suns? 38 points from Wemby. 19 games later against the Lakers, it required 36 points from Vassell, and so on.
Then there’s last night’s win against the Pistons: the one team in the league with a worse record than the Spurs and potential challenger of the 2012 Bobcats for worst team ever. This time, Wemby got his first career triple double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, but ironically, as impressive as that sounds, it was actually far from his best game. He shot an inefficient 6-16 from the field, including 0-4 from three while returning to his habit of chucking them up outside of the flow of the offense, and for only the second time in his career, he didn’t record a single block.
At the same time, he recorded zero turnovers despite playing point center for a lot of the night, his underrated passing game was on full display, he showed some great chemistry with Jeremy Sochan (are you now convinced there are no issues between them, Spurs fans?), and he did it all in 21 minutes, making him the second quickest and the youngest center to ever record a triple double — all while he appeared to be on cruise control.
Wemby may have gotten the game ball, but he isn’t the only one who should be celebrated. In all, the Spurs as a team had a very efficient scoring night (inside the arc, at least), with seven other players scoring between 11 and 17 points, and all more efficiently than Wemby. Jeremy Sochan had a quietly good night with 15 points on 7-15 shooting, in part by being a recipient of several of Wemby’s assists, but there was also this three to end the first half on a high note. We’re going to assume he called bank here, and it’s nice to see the Spurs not on the receiving end of this type of play for a change.
With this three, Jeremy has passed the 1K career points milestone pic.twitter.com/kIr7TBWPPn— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 11, 2024
Dominick Barlow continues to hold down the fort for the Spurs’ depleted front court, making a case for a guaranteed contract if a spot opens up or if the Spurs get that Disabled Player Exception on Charles Bassey. He looks better each game on both sides of the ball, and here he is stuffing his former Overtime Elite teammate Ausar Thompson at the rim.
The Spurs are at their best when they don’t bog down on offense and dribble too much, and on this play they kept the ball moving until they found the open man for a Vassell three.
whole team making this one happen pic.twitter.com/sNL9dtsIW5— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 11, 2024
Doug McDermott is a player that’s always ready, and he contributed 14 points on 5-6 shooting, 4-5 from three, with his third being the one that sealed Wemby’s triple double. He joked after the game that he was glad he didn’t know, otherwise he might have felt too much pressure to hit the shot.
"I'm glad I didn't know. I heard the crowd erupt, I assumed that was something Victor did and not something I did."— Bally Sports San Antonio (@BallySportsSA) January 11, 2024
Doug McDermott reacting to Wemby recording his first career triple-double.#PorVida | @Spurs | @BallySports pic.twitter.com/Ce5Rr5ad5A
There were so many other highlights in this one that it’s impossible to go through (or find) them all, so just sit back and enjoy the full game highlights.