The second match of the “Wemby era” pits Spurs to Rockets. A second Texas derby for Victor Wembanyamawho comes up against a franchise that had bothered him a lot in preseason and a Jabari Smith Jr. who did not appreciate that he rejoices not to land at Houston at the time of the “lottery”.
Victor Wembanyama’s start to the game is interesting, as he is looked for and found near the circle or at mid-distance to throw San Antonio. Problem: it lacks an address and, on the other hand, Alperen Sengun And Fred VanVleet do what is necessary to put Houston on good rails in this very balanced first quarter (25-23).
In the second, the two teams continue to play evenly. Victor Wembanyama, always clumsy, moves away from the circle to shoot from afar, but success is no longer there for him. Fortunately for the Spurs, Devin Vassell and its bench, carried on the shoot, are there to respond to a Jalen Green which is gaining momentum on the Rockets side, at mid-distance or in the paint (52-52).
After the break, Houston tried to break away by making the most of the opposing ball losses, under the leadership of Fred VanVleet, Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun. Clearly in the tough shooting, Victor Wembanyama tries to contribute differently while his playing time is reduced, and these are notably Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan Or Cedi Osman who ensure, laboriously, to keep San Antonio in contact (83-76).
The fourth quarter saw Victor Wembanyama regain some color, thanks to two big dunks, on “alley-oop” or in front of Jabari Smith Jr. However, the Rockets kept the controls by relying on a particularly effective five. Devin Vassell and Cedi Osman do their best to close the gap.
It works, while money time is under pressure. The two teams go blow for blow and, after two missed shots from Jabari Smith Jr, “Wemby” equalizes in power for the Spurs 20 seconds from the end (111-111). Extension, and Ime Udoka’s men can blame themselves!
Moment chosen by San Antonio to surf on its end of the last act. Full of energy, Gregg Popovich’s players constantly attack Houston, who logically thwarts as the minutes go by and ultimately does not recover, following a game of free throws. To the delight of the Frost Bank Center (126-122)!
— Victor Wembanyama still needs to get his bearings. As with its first release, “Wemby” blew very hot and very cold. The very hot one, with his circle protection and his dunks or baskets, especially the equalizer, in the fourth quarter. The very cold, with its numerous failures in the first three quarters, whether near the circle, at mid-distance or especially at 3-points. The learning continues for the Frenchman, who is looking for his place in the Texan attack and in Gregg Popovich’s rotations.
✅ The VanVleet – Green – Sengun trio. Despite some detrimental turnovers, the three players carried the Rockets’ attack throughout the evening, in different registers. Even if, like all their teammates, they plunged somewhat at the end of the game, showing themselves incapable of waking up their team.
✅ Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson. Victor Wembanyama in the tough, full-back and winger of the Spurs provided the scoring to guide Gregg Popovich’s men for most of the match.
How to read the stats? Min = Minutes; Shots = Successful shots / Attempted shots; 3pts = 3-points / 3-points attempted; LF = free throws made / free throws attempted; O = offensive rebound; D=defensive rebound; T = Total rebounds; Pd = assists; Fte: Personal fouls; Int = Intercepts; Bp = Lost balls; Ct: Against; +/- = Point differential when the player is on the field; Pts = Points; Eval: player evaluation calculated from positive actions – negative actions.