San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama became the first rookie to be voted to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team when the league unveiled the voting on Tuesday.

Wembanyama received 98 of a possible 99 first-team votes to add to an impressive list of accolades after his first NBA season.

Rudy Gobert, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, was the only unanimous first-team selection.

Gobert and Wembanyama were joined on the first team by the Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Herb Jones.

Gobert was voted All-Defence for the seventh time in his career, all on the first team.

Adebayo, long considered a top-tier defender, was selected to the first team for the first time in his career. Even the veterans, however, were appreciative of Wembanyama’s rookie campaign.

“Coming into this league, obviously he had high expectations because he's 7-3 and shooting step-back 3s. I think a lot of people paid attention more to that than what he actually did on the defensive end,” Adebayo said of Wembanyama. “So, for him to get first team, first come around, it's obviously a great accolade for him.”

Wembanyama led the league with 3.58 blocked shots per game, over a block more per game than any other player. The towering Frenchman was also eighth in the league at 10.6 rebounds per game and ranked in the top 25 with 1.24 steals per game.

This was the first season of position-less voting for the All-Defence teams, leading to a strong preference for interior defenders, but perimeter players were well-represented on the second team.

The Chicago Bulls’ Alex Caruso, the Orlando Magic’s Jalen Suggs, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jaden McDaniels and Boston Celtics backcourt mates Jrue Holiday and Derrick White were voted to the All-Defensive second team.

The league will announce its three All-NBA teams on Wednesday.

 

 

San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama was unanimously selected to the NBA's All-Rookie first team.

The NBA revealed its All-Rookie teams on Monday, and Wembanyama's inclusion was hardly a surprise, considering he was unanimously named the league's Rooke of the Year two weeks ago.

Oklahoma City Thunder big man Chet Holgmren, who finished second to Wembanyama in rookie of the year voting, was also a unanimous selection to the NBA's All-rookie first team, appearing on all 99 ballots.

Joining Wembanyama and Holmgren on the first team are Charlotte Hornets guard-forward Brandon Miller, Miami Heat forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Golden State Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski.

Jaquez, who also appeared on all 99 ballots, finished fourth in All-rookie team voting with Miller finishing third and Podziemski in fifth. 

The NBA All-Rookie second team includes Derek Lively II of the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets' Amen Thompson, the Memphis Grizzlies' GG Jackson II, the Thunder's Cason Wallace and Keyonte George of the Utah Jazz.

Wembanyama, who became the first player to unanimously win NBA Rookie of the Year honours since Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015-16, averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and a league-leading 3.6 blocks in 71 games in 2023-24.

After finishing second to Minnesota's Rudy Gobert in voting for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award two weeks ago, Wembanyama seems like a lock to be named to this season's All-Defensive team, which will be revealed Tuesday.

If he is named to either the All-Defensive team or All-NBA team, which is announced Wednesday, he'll be the first rookie to do so since fellow Spurs star Tim Duncan in 1998.

San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama capped a historic NBA season debut by being unanimously named the league's Rookie of the Year on Monday.

Wembanyama received all 99 first-place votes from selected media members to become the first player to unanimously win the award since Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015-16.

The heralded 20-year-old joins Spurs legends David Robertson (1989-90) and Tim Duncan (1997-98) as the franchise's Rookie of the Year recipients. Wembanyama is also the first player from France to earn the honour in the award's history.

Oklahoma City center Chet Holmgren was a near-unanimous choice for runner-up, as he was named second on 98 of the 99 ballots. Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller finished third in voting, followed by Miami Heat forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., Golden State Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski and Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II.

Touted as perhaps the NBA's best prospect since LeBron James in 2003, Wembanyama lived up to his substantial hype by becoming the first player in league history with at least 1,500 points, 700 rebounds, 250 assists, 250 blocks and 100 3-pointers made in a season. The 7-foot-4 phenom led the league in blocks (254) and blocks per game (3.6) to become just the second rookie to place first in those categories, along with Manute Bol in 1985-86.

Wembanyama is also the fourth player in NBA history with 1,500 points, 250 assists and 250 blocks in a season, joining a trio of Hall of Famers in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and Robinson. Olajuwon and Robinson were the most recent players to accomplish the feat when they both did so in 1993-94.

In 71 overall contests, Wembanyama finished with per-game averages of 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals.

Wembanyama will have an opportunity to collect some more hardware, as he is one of three finalists for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award to be announced Tuesday. Minnesota's Rudy Gobert and Miami's Bam Adebayo are the others. 

The San Antonio Spurs will be without Victor Wembanyama for their final game of the season on Sunday.

San Antonio face the Detroit Pistons in their last fixture of the 2023-24 campaign.

The Spurs have a 21-60 record on the season, and sit 14th in the Western Conference.

Wembanyama has nevertheless enjoyed a fine rookie season in the NBA, having been selected as the No.1 overall pick in last year's Draft.

The seven-foot-four French youngster will sit out against the Pistons due to an ankle injury, meaning he ends his rookie campaign with 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and an NBA-leading 3.6 blocks per game.

Wembanyama has played 71 times for the Spurs, who he helped to overcome the Denver Nuggets on Friday, finishing with 34 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

After that game, the 20-year-old said: "As a growing team, a young team, it's big for us.

"We're going to need these kind of wins in the future. We're going to need any win. But big-time wins against big teams, first seeds, we're going to need those in the future.

"We've got the potential to be great. The fact that we have the chance to live this, with the fans, I can only hope it's as incredible as it can be."

Wembanyama became the first rookie to accumulate 1,500 points, 250 assists and 250 blocks across the season, while he is only the fourth player in the history of the NBA to do so, after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.

Joel Embiid shook off an apparent injury to finish with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and the Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to seven with a 125-113 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Embiid had 21 points, nine boards and seven assists in the first 17 minutes but appeared to land awkwardly on his left knee late in the first half. He limped to midcourt and gave up on the play.

After coach Nick Nurse called timeout, Embiid went straight to the locker room. But he returned for the second half and promptly hit a 3-pointer on his first touch of the third quarter.

Orlando, Indiana and Philadelphia are all 46-35 after the Pacers lost to Cleveland and are fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.

Franz Wagner scored 24 points and Paolo Banchero added 22 for Orlando, which dropped its third straight game. The Magic can win the Southeast Division with a victory over Milwaukee on Sunday.

Spurs rally to stun Nuggets

Devonte’ Graham scored on a floater in the lane with 0.9 seconds remaining and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from a 23-point deficit for a 121-120 win over the Denver Nuggets, who may have suffered a potentially damaging loss.

The loss dropped Denver out of sole possession of first place in the Western Conference and into a tie with Minnesota and Oklahoma City. After tiebreakers, the Timberwolves are first, the Thunder and second and the Nuggets are third heading into the final day of the regular season on Sunday.

Victor Wembanyama had 34 points and 12 rebounds for the West-worst Spurs, who trailed 76-53 early in the third quarter and were still down 17 early in the fourth.

Jamal Murray scored 35 points and Nikola Jokić had 22 and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who close the regular season Sunday at Memphis.

Thunder handle depleted Bucks

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 23 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder boosted their chances at capturing the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 125-107 win over the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks.

Chet Holmgren had 22 points and nine rebounds and Aaron Wiggins added 19 points for the Thunder, who won their fourth straight and ended the night tied for the top seed in the West after Denver lost to San Antonio and Minnesota beat Atlanta.

Milwaukee played without superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (strained left calf) and All-Star Damian Lillard (sore left adductor) and dropped into a tie with the Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the East. The Bucks can still finish second with a win at Orlando on Sunday or a New York loss to Chicago.

The San Antonio Spurs will rest Victor Wembanyama for Wednesday's road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, denying him a clash with fellow Rookie of the Year contender Chet Holmgren.

Wembanyama rolled his right ankle against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 5, having missed a game against the Phoenix Suns due to a left ankle sprain the previous month.

Last year's number one draft pick has played 70 games this season, averaging 21.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

With Wembanyama playing 31 minutes in Tuesday's 102-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Spurs are reportedly being cautious over his condition on the second leg of a back-to-back.

After Tuesday's game, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Wembanyama's involvement: "We're going to talk it out. It's a question because we've held him out a lot of the back-to-backs. 

"Once when he had that foot thing and now down the stretch, I'm not sure it makes much sense to push it."

Popovich's decision to hold Wembanyama back means fans will be denied a meeting between the likely top two in the Rookie of the Year race, with Holmgren looking to maintain his record of appearing in every game for the Thunder this year. 

Wembanyama is expected to return to the court on Friday, when San Antonio host the Denver Nuggets in their penultimate game of the season. 

Tyrese Maxey described himself as "blessed" after joining an exclusive club with his 52-point display against the San Antonio Spurs in Sunday's 133-126 overtime win for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Maxey put up his third 50-point performance of the season as the Sixers boosted their hopes of avoiding the Play-In Tournament with a fifth straight win.

He joined Joel Embiid, Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in franchise history to reach a half-century three times in a single year, with Chamberlain doing so in an NBA-record 45 games in 1961-62.

Asked about the significance of that achievement after the game, Maxey said: "For my little self to be mentioned with those guys, hey, I'm happy, I'm blessed.

"I didn't want to let us lose. I just wanted to do whatever I could, exert all my energy. I could live with the result after that. 

"No matter how tired, no matter how sore, I just wanted to go out there and try to help us win."

Maxey's performance ensured Philadelphia overcame the absence of Embiid, who was rested after playing three straight games upon his return from knee surgery.

Maxey also put up 50 points against the Indiana Pacers in November and 51 versus the Utah Jazz in February. With Embiid also having three 50-point games this year, the Sixers are the first team in NBA history to have multiple players achieve the feat three times in a single campaign. 

Philadelphia forward Nicolas Batum said of Maxey's showing: "We needed that tonight. Tyrese has been amazing for us all year long. 

"We could easily have been like, 'this is not our night', they're playing good, second night of a back-to-back. But no, he didn't give up. He led the way for us. He kept fighting for us."

Philadelphia outscored San Antonio 30-20 through the final nine minutes of regulation, with Maxey's layup tying it up at 111 to force overtime, with the Sixers ultimately prevailing in a second additional period.

Maxey's heroics meant Victor Wembanyama finished on the losing side despite putting up 33 points, 18 rebounds and six assists, the rookie also posting a career-high five 3-pointers.

Batum was pleased to get one over on Wembanyama now, suggesting few teams will be able to stop him once he gains more experience. 

"He's a special man, he's special," Batum said of the number one draft pick. "It was a good call from [Spurs coach Gregg] Popovich when he said this may be his worst season. 

"That is the scariest part, this may be the worst Wemby we are going to see in 15 years! I'm glad I won this one tonight."

Victor Wembanyama wants to be part of "greatness" after his San Antonio Spurs team overcame Jalen Brunson's 61-point effort to beat the New York Knicks on Friday.

Brunson became just the third Knicks player to ever score more than 60 points in a game, 38 of which came in the second half to lead his team on a 21-point comeback, but it ultimately counted for little as the Spurs took a 130-126 victory after overtime.

Wembanyama had a career-high effort of his own, scoring 40 points and collecting 20 rebounds to lead his team to a win that moves the Spurs to 18-56 on the season, still bottom of the Western Conference, while the Knicks slip to 44-29.

Wembanyama managed 13 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter to hold off the Knicks' comeback before scoring five points and collecting two rebounds in overtime to ensure Brunson's huge game was in vain.

The Spurs rookie was appreciative to have prevailed in the face of Brunson's brilliance, telling reporters: "I've never seen so [much] greatness before this season.

"I've just witnessed so much greatness and I want to be a part of it.

"I always wanted to, but more and more seeing that [I am] already able to compete with those guys. I'm not near [them] but I'm on the right path. I know it and I'm going to get there one day soon."

Brunson has full faith that Wembanyama will go right to the top, also stating that he would only enjoy having had the second-highest scoring game in Knicks' history when he retires due to coming out on the losing end.

"He's going to be one of the greatest players this game has seen," Brunson explained. "[It is] just the way he's built and what he's been able to do so far.

"I've got a lot of respect for him, and it's definitely tough to get a shot up and in over him."

Having watched Brunson and Wembanyama go blow for blow before his team ultimately came out on top, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich stated he had never seen a game quite like it, while heaping praise on his star player.

"It just shows what [Wembanyama] is going to be when he understands all the physicality that's coming at him all the time and what to do about it," Popovich said.

"Fortunately, he's also a hell of an instinctive passer and he's willing to do what he needs to do in that regard. So, he's pretty special."

Zion Williamson scored 34 points to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 112-104 win over the slumping Los Angeles Clippers on Friday that tightened the race for the Western Conference's No. 4 seed.

The surging Pelicans moved within two games of Los Angeles for fourth place in the conference and improved to 14-5 since Jan. 31, tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets for the best record in the West over that span. 

Los Angeles was dealt a third loss in four games despite 26 points from Paul George and 23 from Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers played a second straight game without starting point guard James Harden due to a left shoulder strain.

Williamson recorded 16 of his points during a dominant third quarter in which he went 7 of 7 from the field. The star forward closed out the period with a layup that snapped an 80-80 tie and ignited a 12-3 run that put the Pelicans ahead for good.

Trey Murphy and Naji Marshall each had 3-pointers during the spurt, which Murphy capped with an alley-oop dunk that gave New Orleans a 92-83 lead with 10:24 remaining.

Leonard's hook shot with two minutes left brought the Clippers within 107-102, but Los Angeles came up empty on its next three possessions as New Orleans scored the next five points to put the game out of reach. 

The Clippers trailed by 11 points early in the third quarter before putting together a 12-3 run that trimmed the Pelicans' lead to 65-63 with five minutes left in the period.

Heat handle Pistons to end four-game skid

Bam Adebayo recorded 22 points and nine rebounds to help the Miami Heat end a four-game losing streak with a 108-95 win over the lowly Detroit Pistons.

Terry Rozier scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half as Miami pulled away in the final two quarters to get back on track and remain 2 1/2 games behind first-place Orlando in the Southeast Division. The Magic also won on Friday, earning a 113-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

After Adebayo's floater in the closing seconds gave Miami a 56-54 lead at the half, the Heat dominated the final six minutes of the third quarter to stretch their advantage.

Miami broke things open with a 15-0 run, which began with six straight points from Rozier and ended with three consecutive 3-pointers by Duncan Robinson. The last of those baskets increased the margin to 83-65 with 2:29 to go in the third quarter.

The Heat maintained a double-digit cushion over the entire fourth quarter to end Detroit's modest two-game winning streak.

Simone Fontecchio led the Pistons, who own the NBA's second-worst record at 12-54, with 24 points. Jalen Duren compiled 15 points and 17 rebounds in the loss.

Jokic outduels Wembanyama, Nuggets top Spurs to stay hot

Nikola Jokić put up 31 points as the Denver Nuggets continued their strong recent stretch with a 117-106 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in a game played in the Texas capital of Austin.

Jokic finished 13 of 19 from the field while adding seven rebounds and five assists to outshine Spurs rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama, who was held to 17 points on 4-of-12 shooting.

Jamal Murray accumulated 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to help Denver improve to 11-1 since the All-Star break. The defending NBA champions have won five straight games.

Jokic and the Nuggets imposed their will early on, as Denver closed out the first quarter on an 18-4 run to take a commanding 37-18 lead into the second. The two-time NBA MVP finished the period with 15 points.

The Spurs shot 60 per cent in the second quarter to close the gap to 58-49 at half-time, and got Denver's lead down to four when Zach Collins' jumper with 16.7 seconds left in the third quarter made the score 83-79.

Denver's Justin Holiday ended the third with a 3-pointer, however, and had another during a 9-1 run in the fourth that put the Nuggets up 101-84 with seven minutes to play.

The game drew a crowd of 16,223, the largest attended sporting event in the history of Austin's Moody Center.

 

 

San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama shrugged off Trayce Jackson-Davis' dunk after the Golden State Warriors ran out winners on Monday.

Jackson-Davis got the better of Wembanyama with just over a minute left of the fourth quarter, spinning the NBA draft's number one overall pick before finishing in style.

Wembanyama was left tumbling to the deck, and the Warriors went on to win 112-102.

But Wembanyama, who missed the Spurs' win over the Warriors at the weekend due to an ankle problem, is not overly concerned.

"Getting dunked on is nothing. It's part of the game," said the French youngster, fresh from finishing with 27 points and 14 rebounds.

"I dunk on a lot of people and a lot of people dunk on me too. But I think I block more often than I get dunked on, so that's positive."

Reflecting on the Spurs' performance, Wembanyama added: "Consistency is always [important], but today I think it's also responding to the physicality that they put [out]. We didn’t have a strong enough response."

Explaining his thought process behind the dunk, Warriors rookie Jackson-Davis said: "I saw that he overplayed it, and he overplayed it to my right.

"I'm left-handed. So, I think I spun or got to my left hand and then I had to step on him. I just tried him.

"I told Kevon [Looney] before the game that if I got the chance to try him, I would. At the end of the day, sometimes you dunk on people, sometimes you get dunked on. It's just a basketball play."

Monday's win saw the Warriors, who were without Stephen Curry, bounce back from back-to-back losses, with Golden State limiting the Spurs to just one point in the final stages of the fourth quarter.

"We weren't doing anything differently, just the effort and the connection," said coach Steve Kerr.

"If one guy is out of place and everybody's giving great effort, it still results in two points. I just felt we were better connected in the second half and as that went, we picked up some momentum."

Jonathan Kuminga led the Warriors with 22 points, with Klay Thompson adding 21, to go with a contribution of 19 from Chris Paul.

The San Antonio Spurs are not looking to change Victor Wembanyama, so says teammate Tre Jones.

Wembanyama recorded a stat line that had never been seen in an NBA game in the Spurs' 132-118 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

The rookie sensation finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, five blocked shots and five 3-pointers. He is the first player in NBA history with at least 10 boards, five assists, five blocks and five made 3s in a game.

And Jones says the Spurs are just letting Wembanyama do his own thing.

"I think just let him be him," Jones said. "We don't want to change that. Look where it's gotten him to this point."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich added: "He obviously is not afraid to put himself out there.

"He will take shots and he is not afraid. He is not worried if he misses it or what the consequences are or anything like that. He likes those moments."

Wembanyama, meanwhile, channeled the words of the late, great Kobe Bryant.

"It's a lot [to do with] mentality," he said. "You know Kobe said to win a game, it mostly takes shots, big shots, because they don't call like any fouls.

"It's not as much the physical battle. Even though in defense it's 90 per cent effort, but offensively it's a lot of mental."

Wembanyama came out on top in the tussle of the rookies against Chet Holmgren, who finished with 23 points as the Thunder saw a six-game winning run come to an end.

"It's just another reminder that this is the NBA," Holmgren said.

"No team is in the NBA for no reason. No player is in the NBA for no reason. Any team can beat another on any given night regardless of record or anything. They came out confident. Part of that was them, part of that was us. We should be better [in] the next one. A lot of guys stepped up and hit big shots. Credit to them for coming ready to play."

Victor Wembanyama wants victories, not individual feats, after he joined Michael Jordan in the NBA record books.

Wembanyama became just the second NBA rookie, after Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, to post at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks in a single game. He is just the second player to have five blocks and as many steals in successive games, after the great Jordan.

However, his efforts proved fruitless for the San Antonio Spurs, who lost 113-108 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Wembanyama finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and five blocks. He is just the 15th player in the NBA to record a 5x5.

But for the overall number one draft pick, wins are the priority.

"To me, it's secondary," Wembanyama said. "Hopefully in the future, and think this is a good performance, but as of today, I can't be satisfied with a loss."

LeBron James returned from injury to score 30 points for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 13 rebounds.

"Of course it was challenging [going against] one of the best duos in the league," Wembanyama said of facing two of the NBA's star players.

"But still, I think it's a lot of teams we beat if we play this way.

"But I think it came down to maturity at the end because each and every one of us was making a mistake each of the times.

"Little mistakes, missing a layup, turning the ball over. We went down, we went back to down four, down seven multiple times and that's when we did mistakes. So yeah, it's maturity."

Even though the Spurs have lost 10 of their last 11 games, James believes the sky truly is the limit for Wembanyama.

"He doesn't have a ceiling," James said.

"He can do whatever he wants to do with his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts in the work. Just from the outside looking in, I'm not with him on a day-to-day basis, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.

"There are guys in our league that you have to account for any time you get around the rim or around the perimeter in our league history, and he sits right at the top of it, [if not] around the top, with all the greats.

"He's one of them to have like a stellar rookie season. Guys that have come in and [dominated]. But, it's, can you sustain it? We've had guys that have come in and [have] just been really damn [good]."

The Lakers returned to winning ways following their loss to the Golden State Warriors, but coach Darvin Ham was not entirely satisfied with the performance.

"You want your team to constantly look within and try to make plays and force the other team to put you in uncomfortable positions," Ham said.

"Not you put yourself in those uncomfortable positions, whether it's not sprinting back in transition or allowing teams to get two or three offensive rebounds. Or, you know, fouling because we're not in position because we're not doing our work early. And then going down the other end and not trusting the execution.

"We've got a bunch of weapons, but they're useless if we don't do the little things, sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play."

Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin set his sights high after he led Team Jalen to glory in the Rising Stars Game.

Mathurin was named the night's MVP on Friday, after scoring 22 points across two games, first in the semifinal against Team Tamika, and then in the final against Team Detlef.

The Rising Stars format saw rookies – including number one draft pick Victor Wembanyama – sophomores and some G League players split into four teams.

Mathurin, playing on home turf at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, was also serenaded with "MVP" chants from the crowd. 

And for the 21-year-old, it is hopefully a taste of what is to come in his career.

"It was fun. It was fun to see, to receive those chants," said Mathurin, who has averaged 14.1 points per game across 52 appearances for the Pacers this season.

"The Rising Stars Game, I feel like I haven't really gotten that feeling in the NBA. One day I want to be MVP, so it was great to have that feeling pretty early in my career.

"I saw a couple of shots going in and I was like, it's a wrap. If I'm being totally honest, it's also my city. I had to make sure I brought it home. So that was the main thing for me.

“To see my family and friends travelling all this way just to see me have a good time, I felt I needed to play well."

There was no such look for Wembanyama, who exited in the first round as part of Team Pau on his first Rising Stars appearance, albeit the 20-year-old San Antonio Spurs star has a busy weekend to come, with the skills challenge next up for him.

"I want to win and I hate losing," he said. "But at the same time, I have so much going on.

"I'm happy that I just knocked one thing off the list this weekend. So it's mixed feelings."

Pacers stars Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner, Isaiah Jackson and Obi Toppin were all in the crowd to support Mathurin, meanwhile, who was delighted to have the backing of his teammates.

"I was pretty pumped, just to see them," he added. "Seeing how much they support me and love me."

Toronto Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said teams must learn how to get to grips with Victor Wembanyama after the number one draft pick excelled in a win for the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs ran out 122-99 winners over the Raptors on Monday.

Wembanyama starred with a triple-double, entering the NBA record books in the process.

With a triple-double of 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists.

The 20-year-old became just the fifth player to record a triple-double that includes 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists since 1973-74, when blocks became an official statistic.

Wembanyama joined Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson and Ralph Sampson on that exclusive list, and Raptors boss Rajakovic believes teams will have to adapt to the rookie's stature in skill in the years to come.

"Wembanyama is the player who's going to play in this league for the next 15 years. We need to figure out how to attack and how to play against him," Rajakovic said.

"Definitely a player who's unique with his size and shot-blocking ability. We've got to do a much better job of figuring out how to play against that."

"I felt great today," Wembanyama said after becoming the fourth San Antonio player to record 10 blocks in a game. 

"Great rhythm, started the game strong. I guess it's just the NBA, you know. We've got ups and downs in terms of shape, and today was an up day."

"He did a little bit of everything," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Wembanyama, who leads the league in blocked shots, and is now the first rookie with 150 blocks, 150 assists and 50 steals in a season since Tim Duncan in 1997-98.

"Obviously he's an all-around, talented player. He's got a great feel for the game and it shows in a variety of ways, whether it's passing or making decisions, blocking shots."

The Los Angeles Clippers must be able to replicate their regular-season form in the playoffs if they are to prove themselves as the real deal, so says Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard led the Clippers with 26 points in a blowout 115-96 victory over the NBA-leading Boston Celtics on Saturday.

That marked the Clippers' fifth straight win, as they improved to a league-best 22-4 run since the start of December.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue labelled the road trip to Boston, who dealt his team a 145-108 defeat back in December, as a "measuring stick".

By any measurement, their response was emphatic, but Leonard has urged his teammates to remember that it is the postseason that really matters.

"I'm happy that we were able to come in and give the Celtics a loss," Leonard said.

"But it really doesn't mean nothing until you get to the playoffs and you're doing the things we did tonight – executing, making shots, playing good defense.

"It's good that we had carryover from last night coming from Toronto and winning these back-to-back games. But you got to just keep getting better as the year goes on."

James Harden, meanwhile, cited Saturday's display as the Clippers' best performance of the season.

"Against a team that was playing really, really well, especially at home, we've still got some ways to go, but this is a good test for us," he said.

Lue added: "The guys were pretty motivated. When they came to L.A., they did us pretty bad. So, the guys were locked in.

"Just a measuring stick against a great team. We just wanted to kind of see where we're at. We had that on our mind."

The Clippers are third in the Western Conference, two wins behind the Minnesota Timberwolves, who suffered a surprise defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

Victor Wembanyama starred with 23 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs - rooted to the bottom of the West - clinched a 113-112 victory.

"This is the best win we've had," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose team trailed by 15 points before hitting back.

Wembanyama added: "It is definitely a good one and I think tonight we have to feel proud about what we did and get used to the feeling so we can repeat it."

Devin Vassell, who led the Spurs with 25 points, said: "I think we're just growing and maturing.

"There would be times where teams go on a run and we put our heads down and almost get defeated already. Basketball is a game of runs. So right now, we've just been sticking with it. We've been playing 48 minutes."

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