Well, I’ll be... the Portland Trail Blazers get to play a team with a worse record than them! The Blazers will wrap their four-game road trip by dusting off their cowboy hats to face the Spurs in San Antonio.
While nothing could possibly match the adrenaline-pumping excitement of Portland players finding a literal snake in their locker room against this very same team in the very same building during the 2014 playoffs, fans will get to see a generational player take the court for the opponent. Victor Wembanyama may “only” be averaging 20 points per game on the season, but a) he’s averaging about 26 points over the last six games, and b) he does stuff no other player in the history of the sport has done. If you haven’t watched this guy play basketball yet, you’re missing out.
The Blazers will look to build another small winning streak after their extremely fun overtime win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, but they’ll have to do so without the services of Malcolm Brogdon who is being put in bubble wrap in preparation for a trade... er... is suffering from a knee contusion.
Do the Blazers have anyone who can stop Wemby? No, but with the third-worst defense in the NBA, the Spurs collectively aren’t stopping anyone either. Given that; and given the last time Scoot Henderson and Wemby shared the court, Scoot went for 26 points (albeit on rough shooting); AND given that Scoot might feel an extra bit of motivation to perform well when playing against the man drafted two spots ahead of him... we can only hope that Scoot breaks out for a career game in Texas.
How to watch on TV: Root Sports, NBA League Pass
Trail Blazers injuries: Malcolm Brogdon (questionable); Shaedon Sharpe, Robert Williams III, Moses Brown (out).
Spurs injuries: Tre Jones (day-to-day); Charles Bassey, Sidy Cissoko (out).
Spurs SBN affiliate: Pounding the Rock
About the Opponent
Jeff McDonald of the San Antionio Express News wrote about the Rookie of the Year race in the context of Wembanyama and the Spurs’ recent loss to fellow rookie Chet Holmgren and the Oklahoma City Thunder:
Holmgren, 20, tipped his top hat to Wembanyama for a spectacular performance, but said he mostly tried to avoid being drawn into a one-on-one back-and-forth. “I can’t let that matchup take away from what the job was,” said Holmgren, who missed all of last season with a foot injury after being selected No. 2 in the 2022 draft. “And that was trying to win a basketball game, Thunder vs. Spurs.” Wembanyama voters will pull the lever for a player who leads all rookies in almost every category — averaging 20.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and a league-leading 3.2 blocks — but doing it for a team flirting with one of the worst records in NBA history.
Jeff Garcia of KENS5 wrote about how the G-League has helped Spurs guard Blake Wesley’s adjustment into the NBA:
Wesley has paid his dues to get the opportunity he’s receiving this season, having spent 11 regular-season games with Austin during his rookie campaign while getting the occasional call-up to San Antonio. He averaged 20.7 points while seeing the floor for 29.7 minutes per game. This season, he suited up for 12 games for Austin at the Showcase Cup Tournament, averaging 17.5 points per game along with 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals. Those are impressive numbers. But stats aside, the most critical aspect of his time with Austin was the confidence he gained. “It helped me a lot,” Wesley said. “Going on there and playing, getting the confidence I needed to play up here, it’s been great.”\
Mikey Rouleau of Pounding the Rock shares about EXTREMELY dedicated basketball fans who traveled to see Wembanyama play all the way from... wait for it... France. As in the country of France. In Europe. 5,200 miles away.
On Tuesday, 27 devoted French Spurs fans made the trek from their homeland. This annual expedition was meticulously organized by Spurs Nation France, under the leadership of President Jean-Patrick Nourricier. The “Mission Victor(y)” week-long trip encompasses airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to four basketball games, and an hour-and-a-half basketball session on the hardwood of the Frost Bank Center. To cap off this extraordinary experience, these fans will meet some of their favorite basketball talents, including Victor, Diaw, and Rudy Gobert. For these basketball enthusiasts, it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The timing of their trip was no coincidence; these fans strategically planned to attend four games against formidable opponents. The first matchup took place on Wednesday night against rival Chet Holmgren. Looking ahead, the next three games will feature showdowns between Scoot Henderson and Wemby, a visit from Rudy Gobert on Saturday night, and a face-off with ex-Mets teammate and close friend Bilal Coulibaly on Monday night.