Kevin Durant knows a thing or two about coming into the league with big expectations. As the second pick of his draft, Durant carved himself out a career as one of the best players in league history and one of the deadliest scorers that the NBA has ever seen.
Durant, of course, isn’t quite ready to pass the torch to the next generation yet. He showed how efficient he can still be, finishing his latest game against the San Antonio Spurs with 26 points, seven rebounds and two steals while shooting 12 of 19 from the field. At one point, it even looked like that the Phoenix Suns would walk away with a blowout victory as they built a 20-point lead thanks to Durant’s prowess.
However, Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs simply wouldn’t go away. After losing by 40 points to the LA Clippers the other day, the Spurs showed that their young squad has some fight in them as they pulled off a surprising 115-114 victory. Even though the Suns were still up 10 points with only 5:25 left on the clock, they couldn’t hold on. Durant missed his final two shots in the last 1:43 of the game, either of which would have given the Suns the win.
Wembanyama played a big role in the fourth quarter as his defense, passing, and scoring ability was shown off in an 8-0 run that brought the Spurs back into the game in the fourth quarter. It was quite the sight, seeing him get a block on one end, then run the floor to draw attention from defenders so that his teammate could get the breakaway dunk.
Wembanyama saved his best for last, as well. He had a huge putback slam with 6.8 seconds left that brought the game to within one, which opened up the door for Keldon Johnson to get the steal an the bucket to give the Spurs the lead with 1.2 seconds remaining.
The Frenchman will continue to have his ups and downs on the court, but his tantalizing potential continues to show. He finished the game with 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. He wasn’t the team’s leading scorer, as that honor went to Keldon Johnson, who had 27 points, four assists and two steals on 10 of 20 shooting.
There have only been four games played, so there’s plenty of season left to go, but it’s becoming clearer that Wembanyama will be fun to watch for the next 78 games. He is quickly learning that even playing in a professional league in Europe is no match for learning how to play against the speed, strength and skill of NBA players in real-time. One of the good signs about his mentality is that he was able to keep his composure after suffering a 40-point loss in one game, then being down 20 in the following contest.