NBA: Historic night for Wemby while T-Wolves grab West lead

AFP , Tuesday 13 Feb 2024

Victor Wembanyama posted an epic NBA triple-double with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots on Monday to power San Antonio to a 122-99 victory at Toronto.

San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) dunks as Toronto Raptors guard Immanuel Quickley (5) defends during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. Photo: AP


The 20-year-old, seven-foot-four-inch (2.24-metre) French rookie star, the top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, had the most blocks in a game by any NBA player in more than three years in his second career NBA triple-double.

"We felt great today, had a great rhythm," Wembanyama said. "Started the game strong. I don't know. I guess it's just the NBA. We've got ups and downs in terms of shape. Today was an up day."

Wembanyama became only the fifth player in NBA history with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists in an NBA game, joining legendary big men Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former Spurs star David Robinson.

"It's great company to have a name in this group and even more because it's in the Spurs family," he said.

Wembanyama became only the fourth NBA rookie with a triple-double that included blocks, joining Robinson, Mark Eaton and Ralph Sampson.

It was the first NBA triple-double to include blocked shots since Clint Capela did it in January 2021.

San Antonio snapped a seven-game losing streak behind "Wemby," the first NBA player since Olajuwon in 1996 with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists in a game.

The Frenchman warned his size and skill at swatting aside shots might prevent many double-digit blocks nights.

"It's getting harder to block shots -- I had to make an extra effort tonight -- because less and less people go at me," Wembanyama said. "Intimidation, I can see it happening."

Wembanyama, whose first NBA triple-double came last month against Detroit, hit 10-of-14 shots from the floor, two-of-four three-point attempts, and five-of-six free throws while adding five assists and two steals over 29 minutes.

"He did a little bit of everything," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He is an all-around talented player."

In other games, Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points to lead the Timberwolves over hosts the Los Angeles Clippers 121-100 in a showdown for the Western Conference lead.

The T-Wolves (37-16) also had 23 points from Anthony Edwards to rout the Clippers (35-17).

At Milwaukee, Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 36 points and grabbed 18 rebounds while Damian Lillard added 18 points to lead the host Bucks over the injury-hit defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets 112-95.

Serbian big man Nikola Jokic, like Antetokounmpo a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, had 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets, who lost starters Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to leg injuries.

Cavs' win streak ends

Philadelphia snapped Cleveland's nine-game win streak with a dramatic 123-121 road victory.

Kelly Oubre scored 24 points and blocked Donovan Mitchell's tying layup attempt with one second remaining.

The Cavs (35-17) had won 17 of their prior 18 games but were denied their first 10-game win streak since 2017.

An Oubre three-pointer gave the 76ers a 120-110 lead with 1:25 to go but Mitchell, who scored 36 points, netted eight in a late 11-3 rally, only to be denied at the finish.

Elsewhere, Golden State had 26 points from Klay Thompson and 25 by Stephen Curry to win 129-107 at Utah, stretching the Warriors' win streak to five games.

In Dallas, NBA scoring leader Luka Doncic had a triple-double with 26 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks in a 112-104 victory over Washington.

At Houston, a foul whistled on New York's Jalen Brunson with 0.3 seconds remaining led to a heartbreaking 105-103 Knicks loss.

With the game tied, Brunson was called for a foul on Houston's Aaron Holiday's three-point shot. Holiday, who scored 18 off the bench, hit two game-winning free throws and missed the third to kill the final split second.

Charlotte's Miles Bridges had 20 points and 10 rebounds to spark the host Hornets over Indiana 111-102.

DeMar DeRozan and Ayo Dosunmu each scored 29 points to lead Chicago's 136-126 victory at Atlanta while Herbert Jones had 17 points to lead New Orleans in a 96-87 triumph at Memphis.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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