April 23, 2024


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Spurs Victor Wembanyama scores 5×5 night loss to Lakers

Spurs Victor Wembanyama scores 5×5 night loss to Lakers

LOS ANGELES – Victor Wimbanyama took questions at the podium sitting in front of a San Antonio Spurs banner and was told about the statistical milestone he had just achieved on Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers

Wimbanyama joins Jamaal Tinsley (2001) as the only NBA rookies to have had a 5×5 game — recording at least 5 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 5 blocks in a game — and also became just the second player to record 5 blocks and 5 steals in a game. Consecutive games, joining Michael Jordan.

Wembanyama paused to contemplate Jordan's achievement and then asked: “I wonder if he's done that in wins.”

Jordan, who did it in his third season, actually did it in wins. Wembanyama did so at losses. The Wambanyama Spurs lost 113-108 to the Lakers on Friday night despite the rookie's best efforts.

Wimbanyama finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals and 5 blocks to become the 15th player in NBA history to score 5×5, and the first since Jusuf Nurkic in 2019.

That came just one night after he fell short of the feat Thursday night in Sacramento, falling short of a single assist. Wimbanyama has become the first player in NBA history to average 5×5 over two games since 1973-74, when blocks were first recorded as an official statistic.

Wimbanyama played 31 minutes, the fewest in a 5×5 match, and at the age of 20, he also became the youngest player to reach the statistical mark. He also became the second player with 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and five steals, joining Hakeem Olajuwon, who did so four times.

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But these heroics will mean little to Wimbanyama, he said, until they achieve victories.

“For me, it’s secondary,” Wimbanyama said. “I hope in the future, I think this is a good performance, but as of today, I cannot be satisfied with the loss.”

The Lakers' star duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis was too much for the young Spurs to overcome. James scored 30 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds, while Davis scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

“Of course it was difficult [going against] “One of the best duos in the league,” Wimbanyama said. “But still, I think we will beat a lot of teams if we play like this.”

“But I think it came to maturity in the end because every one of us was making a mistake every time. Small mistakes, missing a corner kick, turning the ball over. We were down, we came back down by four goals.” “We lost seven times and that's when we made mistakes. So yeah, it's maturity.”

After the match, James had nothing but high praise for Wimbanyama.

“He doesn't have a ceiling,” James said. “He can do what he wants to do with his career. He seems to be enjoying the game. He seems to be doing his best. Just from the outside, I'm not with him in the day-to-day tasks.” Basically, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.

“As much as you ask, as much as the ruin [defensively]“There are people in our league that you have to count anytime you go around the rim or around the perimeter in the history of our league, and he sits right at the top, around the top, with all the greats.”

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When asked about some of the best rookies he has seen, James mentioned players like Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

“He's one of them who had a great rookie season,” James said. “The men who came and [dominated]. But, can you maintain it? We've had guys come in who were really mean [good]. I think the one thing that sets Wemby apart from all the people I've kind of named is that you see how tall he is.

“You see how tall and tall he is. This guy next to me, he's got a lot of length, and he's more like an AD,” James said, pointing at Davis. That's what makes it a little different. “

Friday's loss dropped the Spurs to 11-46 on the season. This is their tenth loss in 11 matches.

But Wimbanyama's teammates know the repeated losses won't last forever, in part because of how much of a difference the rookie can make.

“I think it shows how special he is,” Spurs goalie Devin Vassell told ESPN. “Obviously we know what we're building around. We know what we have, which is tough because I talked about it yesterday. You sit here and compete night and day, night and day and you're not winning.

“It's obviously difficult. We'll always have his back. He wants to be great, and we appreciate that, and it's not just him, but I think we all want to be great.”

ESPN's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.