SAN ANTONIO (AP) San Antonio rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama punctuated snapping a five-game skid by shouting an explicative into a live house microphone to let Spurs fans know how much he missed playing in front of them.

“I think just let him be him,” San Antonio point guard Tre Jones said, laughing. “We don’t want to change that. Look where it’s gotten him to this point.”

Sound strategy given the historic start for the 20-year-old.

Wembanyama had 28 points and 12 rebounds, Devin Vassell also scored 28 points and the Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 132-118 on Thursday night.

Wembanyama added seven assists, five blocks and two assists while shooting 9 for 17 from the field and 5 for 7 on 3-pointers while playing the entire fourth quarter.

He is the first player in NBA history with 10 rebounds, five assists, five blocks, and five 3-pointers in a game.

“It’s a lot of mental,” Wembanyama said “You know Kobe (Bryant, the late Los Angeles Lakers star) said to win a game, it mostly takes shots, big shots, because they don’t call like any fouls. It’s not as much the physical battle. Even though in defense it’s 90 percent effort, but offensively it’s a lot of mental.”

San Antonio returned to the Frost Bank Center after finishing 1-8 on their annual Rodeo Road Trip.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 31 points for Oklahoma City. Jalen Williams added 23, and Chet Holmgren had 23.

Oklahoma City (41-18) dropped a game behind Minnesota (42-17) atop the Western Conference. The Spurs (12-48) are last in the West, but have beaten the Timberwolves and Thunder in the past month.

“It’s just another reminder that this is the NBA,” Holmgren said. “No team is in the NBA for no reason. No player is in the NBA for no reason. Any team can beat another on any given night regardless of record or anything. They came out confident. Part of that was them, part of that was us. We should be better the next one.”

Jeremy Sochan added 21 points after failing to score in the Spurs’ previous game.

Wembanyama punctuated back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 3 1/2 minutes with a blocked shot he captured in his hand on Chet Holmgren’s two-point attempt at the top of the key.

“He obviously is not afraid to put himself out there,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “He will take shots and he is not afraid. He is not worried if he misses it or what the consequences are or anything like that. He likes those moments.”

Holmgren had a head start in the battle between Rookie of the Year candidates. Holmgren made a 3-pointer in the opening minutes as Wembanyama charged at him with his right arm fully extended. Wembanyama was limited to one rebound and missed his first two attempts as Holmgren defended.

The centers traded plays after that, including a series of possessions in the opening minutes of the second quarter.

“They came out with a lot of confidence,” Holmgren said. “A lot of guys stepped up and hit big shots. Credit to them for coming ready to play.”

Wembanyama lowered his shoulder to push past Holmgren and score on a short hook shot. Holmgren followed by rolling off a pick to lose Wembanyama for an uncontested dunk. Wembanyama then made a 3-pointer over Holmgren.

As for his postgame slip, Wembanyama laughed and said he is still adjusting.


Thunder: At Phoenix on Sunday night.

Spurs: Host Indiana on Sunday night.



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