NBA: San Antonio outduels Oklahoma to halt five-game losing skid

Victor Wembanyama edges ROTY rival Chet Holmgren during their NBA showdown (Darren Carroll/NBA/Getty Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The San Antonio Spurs outmatched the higher-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, 132-118, during their Western Conference duel in the ongoing NBA regular season on March 1, 2024.

Eager to end their five-game losing streak and re-enter the NBA winning column, the Spurs played an inspired brand of basketball to shatter Oklahoma’s hopes of extending its consecutive wins to seven games.

Victor Wembanyama once again showed why he is the top candidate for this season’s NBA Rookie of the Year after stuffing the stat sheets for the Spurs with 28 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and five blocks.

The lanky French star became the catalyst of the game for San Antonio as he anchored their defense in the pivotal final five minutes of the game.

Aside from his defensive steadiness, Wembanyama also torched Oklahoma offensively and sank the two dagger three-pointers in the last two minutes of the ball game.

It was a nip-and-tuck affair from the get-go as Chet Holmgren led the Thunder with an early scoring barrage in the opening quarter of the game.

For the Spurs, it was Devin Vassell who shouldered the scoring load, dropping 11 points in just 11 minutes before getting subbed out heading into the second quarter.

San Antonio led for the most of the first half but the Thunder came roaring back in the third frame courtesy of a waxing-hot Jalen Williams who recovered from a disappointing shooting slump in the first half.

When Oklahoma inched closer in the fourth, it was the duo of Wembanyama and Vassell who stepped up for head coach Gregg Popovich.

Vassell equalized Wembanyama’s scoring effort built from an efficient 12/20 shooting from the field alongside nine assists and two blocks.

Jeremy Sochan, the Spurs’ sophomore sensation, backstopped the duo with 21 markers derived from an 8/14 shooting from the field.

On the other hand, the Thunder was led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s 31-point performance but his superb scoring night went to waste as the Spurs more balanced attack and defensive rating steered them to the victory.