No fourth success for the San Antonio Spurs! Last in the Western Conference last season (22 wins, 60 losses), the Spurs conceded a third defeat in six games after their setback in overtime against the Toronto Raptors (123-116) on Sunday evening, the fault of a scathing 39 at 24 in the last quarter conceded by Gregg Popovich's men. For his first prime time in France since his long-awaited debut in the NBA, Victor Wembanyama put on a show in the first half before being less served subsequently, and finishing with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocks.
Author of his first XXL performance on the night of Thursday to Friday during Spurs' victory at the Suns (121-132), Wembanyama delighted with five counterattacks, each more spectacular than the other, but was unable to show himself also decisive in the final moments, even missing a three-point shot in 20 seconds from the end of overtime.
From the first moments, observers were able to see that “Wemby” had seen its offensive prerogatives broadened since the injury of fullback and very good scorer Devin Vassell, who was released during the match against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, injured in the groin. and absent this Sunday evening. His reputation as a “diesel” player has not failed. Served in abundance, he lost a first ball, before seeing a basket denied to him for goaltend, then missing a pass for Collins.
Apparently not affected by his first minutes, Wemby opened his counter with a mid-range shot (7-4), then put on a little show for his supporters in the last five minutes of the first quarter: two insolent counterattacks from ease, a furious dunk, a spectacular missed lay-up attempt and winning shots to finish with 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 8 minutes (26-22).
Rather preserved in the second part of the first half, the most anticipated rookie since LeBron James in 2003 witnessed from the bench the overwhelming domination against the clumsy Raptors (39% at 3 points, 51% at 2 points) . The Frenchman still had time to place a new counter on Anunoby, then McDermott chained long-distance shots to widen the gap. The Texans' defense also went up a notch, with only 13 points conceded and a gap which swelled to reach 19 points at the break (54-35).
Less to his advantage, and above all less served by his teammates, Wembanyama was at the forefront of the gradual rise of the Canadians, thanks to Poeltl (14 points in the end) who was valuable in the paint. The native of Chesnay-Rocquencourt (Yvelines) still had time to place a big counter on Anunoby, definitely his favorite victim of the evening.
Defeated and less put forward by his teammates who did not know how to manage their lead, Wembanyama (4 points in the second half), saw the gap disappear and Barnes (30 points) catch fire in the last minutes with two baskets in the money-time. The French giant (2.24 m) caught an offensive rebound transformed by a basket from Johnson, but Collins got confused to get the win.
The start of overtime coincided with the awakening of Siakam, author of a big three-point shot to put his team at distance. Collins missed again after a mid-range basket from “Wemby”, and Anunoby took the opportunity to give his team a decisive lead (118-112 with 2’ to play). The Habs took a big three-point shot, but saw the ball go out, 20 seconds from the end of the game.
A huge disappointment for the Texans, who will travel to Indiana (Tuesday, 1 a.m.) before facing the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden (Thursday, 1:30 a.m.).