Evaluating Victor Wembanyama’s career-high 38 point game against Suns

Victor Wembanyama poured in 38 points Thursday night to guide the San Antonio Spurs to their second straight win over the Phoenix Suns. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Wembanyama set a career high in points, shooting 15 of 26 from the field and 3 of 6 from 3. Ten of his points came in the final five minutes of the 132-121 victory.
  • The 2023 No. 1 pick added 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal.
  • Wembanyama has scored 103 points across his first five NBA games, joining David Robinson as the only rookies in Spurs history to score 100 or more points in that span.
  • San Antonio improves to 3-2 on the season, including a last-minute comeback win over Phoenix on Tuesday.

What is the significance?

In just his fifth NBA game, Wembanyama had a historic performance, scoring 10 points in a 12-0 fourth-quarter San Antonio run that broke open a tie game after the Spurs had lost leading scorer Devin Vassell to a groin injury at halftime. Wembanyama’s performance was capped by a dagger 3-pointer off the dribble that essentially put the game away, giving the Spurs a 10-point lead with two minutes left and sending Suns fans scurrying for the exits. Phoenix had rallied from a 27-point deficit to tie the score after Wembanyama’s 20-point first half had given the Spurs an early advantage.

The win completes a road sweep of the Suns and moves the Spurs to 3-2 after they won just 22 games and had the league’s worst net rating in 2022-23. — John Hollinger, senior NBA writer

What’s next

Wembanyama will have to carry even more of an offensive load with Vassell likely to miss some time with the groin injury, pending an MRI on Friday, according to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. The Spurs next face the Toronto Raptors on Sunday in San Antonio, before a two-game road trip that includes Wembanyama’s maiden visit to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks on Wednesday. — Hollinger

What they’re saying

“He’s a multifaceted player and he’ll pass it to the open guy. But he’s got confidence in himself and he made some plays that were unbelievable. That combination is pretty good, if you have that skill and you’re still willing to pass.” — Popovich.

“Were we amazed? I’m not sure, because we’ve seen that before.” — Spurs guard Jeremy Sochan.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is a 20-point lead is nothing.” — Wembanyama on his first five games in the NBA.

“He’s an unbelievable talent. Everybody knows that. Just trying to figure out what he is, because we’ve never seen him before.” — Suns guard Devin Booker.

“It just makes me want to go even higher to beat all these records.” — Wembanyama on his historic start.

“They made the emphasis to exploit his size against our smalls and get a good few easy buckets in the paint. It paid off, he hit a three at the end because he saw the ball go through the rim, got a couple free throws. So, you know, he is a good player.”  — Kevin Durant

Required reading

(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

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