SI:AM | Victor Wembanyama Gets the Better of Chet Holmgren in Highly Anticipated Showdown

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SI:AM | Victor Wembanyama Gets the Better of Chet Holmgren in Highly Anticipated Showdown: Last night in San Antonio, the future of the National Basketball Association (NBA) was on show when Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren faced off for the third time. The match stood up to the excitement that was surrounding it.

Despite the fact that Holmgren’s Oklahoma City Thunder won the first two games of the series with a resounding victory (123–87 on November 14 and 140–114 on January 24), Wemby and the San Antonio Spurs emerged victorious with a remarkable 132–118 victory last.

  • The most noteworthy thing, however, is that despite the fact that the two leading candidates for Rookie of the Year had a difficult time in their first two matches, both of them were at the peak of their game last night.
  • In addition to his seven rebounds, five assists, and one block, Holmgren finished with 23 points on eight of twelve shots. Wembanyama finished with a total of 28 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks, and two steals.
  • He shot 9 of 17 from the field, including 5 of 7 from three-point range. Wemby is the first player in the history of the National Basketball Association to record such statistics in a single game. Take a look at the highlights of the game here.
  • Both Holmgren and Wembanyama are basketball unicorns that combine size and skill in ways that we have never seen before. It was an exciting experience to see them compete against each other. It was the first of what is expected to be a great deal of tension-filled competition in the years to come.
  • Wemby hit a huge three-pointer with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter, giving San Antonio a 127–118 lead. That was the best play of the game.
  • Then, when the Thunder got the ball again, Wembanyama stopped Holmgren’s step-back try. To say it’s “blocked” would be too polite. Wemby moved so fast that he blocked Holmgren’s shot before it even got out of his hand.
  • Take a look at this again. Holmgren has never been stopped like that before, at least not since he got taller than 7 feet. A shot like that would be smart in almost any situation because of his great length and soft shooting touch. Not though, not when Wembanyama is standing up for him.
  • The two newcomers are a lot alike. Holmgren is 7′ 1″ and 195 pounds, and Wembanyama is 7′ 4″ and 209 pounds. Both are tall and skinny, and they move very well for guys their size.
  • The most important thing they have in common is that they can both play on the floor at that size. Some things are different, though. In this case, Holmgren is better at passing the ball and going to the basket, while Wembanyama is better at guarding the basket.

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But Holmgren plays for one of the best teams in the league, while Wembanyama’s Spurs are terrible. OKC has saved up draft picks to build a great team of young, skilled players. Its five players are all younger than 25 years old. The Spurs are also young; their oldest starter is 24 years old.

SI:AM | Victor Wembanyama Gets the Better of Chet Holmgren in Highly Anticipated Showdown
SI:AM | Victor Wembanyama Gets the Better of Chet Holmgren in Highly Anticipated Showdown

 

But while Holmgren is part of a strong group that includes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is a candidate for MVP, and Jalen Williams, who has become a big star, San Antonio’s roster is mostly Wembanyama and not much else of value.

Devin Vassell, whose new $135 million, five-year deal starts next season, is probably the only other Spurs player who will be around for a long time. The Spurs will eventually put together a winning team around Wembanyama, and those four yearly games against Holmgren and the Thunder are must-sees.

 

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