Victor Wembanyama scored 15 points in his much-anticipated NBA debut, but Luka Doncic took over down the stretch in the Dallas Mavericks’ 126-119 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Wembanyama scored his first NBA points with a 3-pointer at the 8:25 mark of the first quarter and added another 3 with under two minutes left in the opening quarter.

The 7-foot-4 phenom scored nine points in the final seven minutes after struggling with foul trouble in the fourth quarter.

He went 6 of 9 from the field with five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 23 minutes.

Doncic was cleared to play an hour before tipoff after being listed as questionable with a left calf sprain and 33 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his 57th career triple-double.

Doncic converted a three-point play with 2:19 remaining to put Dallas ahead 118-117 and Kyrie Irving answered Devin Vassell’s two free throws with a 3-pointer with 1:51 to play.

Doncic then stole the ball from Jeremy Sochan and fed Irving for a layup before sinking a 3 of his own with 30 seconds left to give the Mavs a 126-119 lead.

Irving had 22 points and Grant Williams and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 17 apiece.

Vassell led San Antonio with 23 points and Keldon Johnson had 17 with nine rebounds and seven assists.


Porzingis propels Celtics in debut

Kristaps Porzingis scored 30 points in his Celtics debut and Jayson Tatum added 34 points and 11 rebounds as Boston defeated the New York Knicks 108-104 in the season opener for both teams.

Porzingis, who finished with eight rebounds and four blocks, scored nine straight points down the stretch, including a 3-pointer with 1:29 remaining that snapped a 101-all tie.

He sank two free throws with 29 seconds left and Payton Pritchard also made a pair with 11 seconds to go.

RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley each scored 24 points for the Knicks, who took their first lead of the game with a 13-2 run to open the fourth quarter.


Gilgeous-Alexander leads Thunder past Bulls

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 31 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 124-104 in Chet Holmgren’s long-awaited NBA debut.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored seven points during a 12-0 run late in the third quarter to break open a one-point game.

He finished 12 of 18 from the field with 10 assists and five rebounds.

Holmgren tallied 11 points, four rebounds and three assists in his pro debut. He missed all last season with a foot injury after he was selected second overall in the 2022 draft.

DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 20 points.

New upcoming NBA star Victor Wembanyama must "remember to be a kid" as expectations grow on the San Antonio Spurs' 19-year-old, who has already been likened to LeBron James.

That was the message from the Chicago Bulls' Andre Drummond, who is well qualified to offer such advice given he has his eyes on a significant milestone of his own.

Drummond is just 37 boards away from reaching 10,000 rebounds in his impressive NBA career, having initially started at the Detroit Pistons with expectations on his shoulders, too.

The Bulls' 30-year-old has been in basketball long enough – and from a similar young age as well – to feel capable of offering advice to the exciting Wembanyama.

The Chicago center told Stats Perform: "For Victor, if I had to give him some advice, I would always tell him to just remember to be a kid.

"I feel like that is something that I didn't take advantage of coming in at 18 years old.

"I feel like I'd stepped into this realm of basketball and like, instantly became a man.

"I had to do everything as a man when I still had my mom and my sister, I still had a family base too, and I think that's the best thing I did do, was bring them out.

"I was so focused on, 'Alright, how do I fit in?' So, I will just tell him to always be himself."

Drummond was rated as the number-one pick of the 2011 class by ESPN after featuring in a gold-medal winning United States team at the Under-17 World Championship.

Having experienced similar pressures in his early career, Drummond sees aspects of his own challenges in Wembanyama.

"Similar to him, I came in and played right away," Drummond added. "I had to figure it out on the fly.

"I was going to a team that was rebuilding and a lot of pressure was on me too, along with him.

"He has a lot of pressure on his back too, because now they're looking at him to be the guy to bring the Spurs back to the calibre that they were.

"For me coming into Detroit, it was like 'well, you have to bring us back to the playoffs, you got to bring us to being a contending team' because all they know in Detroit is winning, they are a blue-collar city.

"So similar stories, different guys. We're all going on the same path at the end of the day, we want to win a championship and we want to be the best we can be."

While likening his experiences to what Wembanyama will face, over a decade on from his NBA introduction Drummond now has milestones in his sights.

"Being 37 away from 10,000 rebounds," he continued, "it puts a lot of perspective for myself and just for the public because I always tell everybody, I feel like I'm the best ever to do it, [regardless of] me having, or about to have 10,000 rebounds.

"I think just my body of work and my percentages and numbers help prove that and honestly, for me it just shows the amount of work I put in.

"Every year I set a goal to be the best rebounder each and every season and to have the honour of reaching 10,000, not too many people have the chance to do that. I am with a group of high-calibre guys."

While delighted to feature in a group that includes the likes of legends Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, which Drummond labelled as "truly an honour", the Bulls star wants to use his experience to help teammates now.

"For myself this year, it's just, I think it's everything away from basketball, I feel like it's just staying with it, controlling things that I could control," he said.

"Focusing on the things that matter, being a good team-mate, being there for the guys, playing hard each and every time I'm out there.

"In practice, pushing our starters to be better each and every day, being a vocal leader. I feel like that's something that I lacked last year, not using my voice for someone who's been around for 12 years now.

"I feel like I should have spoken more and said a lot more to our younger guys, so I think just being that vet that everybody sees me as I'm really showing it."

Victor Wembanyama overcame a slow start to score 15 points in 21 minutes as the San Antonio Spurs posted a 117-103 preseason victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

The No. 1 draft pick missed all five of his shots from the field in the first half but made 7 of 8 from the free throw line. He hit 3 of 5 shots in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers, and finished with six rebounds and two blocks.

Devin Vassell scored 25 points with five 3s and Zach Collins had 11 points, nine rebounds and three assists for San Antonio.

Houston’s Amen Thompson, the fourth overall pick in June’s draft, was limited to five points in 21 minutes.



Curry's late 3 lifts Warriors

Stephen Curry drained a long 3-pointer – his eighth of the game - with 5.5 seconds remaining to cap the Golden State Warriors’ 116-115 comeback win over the Sacramento Kings.

Curry scored 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors erased an 18-point deficit.

Jonathan Kuminga had 18 points and Andrew Wiggins added 16 for Golden State, now 4-0 in the preseason.

De’Aaron led the Kings with 25 points and Keegan Murray had 24.

Poole scores 41 in Wizards' win

In New York, Jordan Poole poured in 41 points with six 3-pointers in the Washington Wizards’ 131-106 rout of the New York Knicks.

Poole, entering his first season with Washington after four with Golden State, hit 10 of 19 shots and sank 15 of 16 free throws – in three quarters – as the Wizards improved to 3-0 in the preseason.

Julius Randle led the Knicks with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

On a night the San Antonio Spurs rested 2023 No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama, the Houston Rockets got good contributions from their top two rookies on Monday.

Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore each scored 15 points to help the Rockets to a 99-89 preseason victory over their Texas rivals with Wembanyama looking on from the bench in street clothes. 

Thompson, the fourth overall pick in this year's draft, added two steals in 21 minutes. Whitmore, taken 20th overall, scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter as Houston outscored the Spurs by a 36-13 margin in the final period to erase a 13-point deficit.

Zach Collins led San Antonio with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Elsewhere in the NBA, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker each had 19 points to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 117-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Durant finished 6 of 10 from the field while Booker made four of six shots from 3-point range to help stake Phoenix to a commanding 76-54 half-time lead.

In Brooklyn, Kelly Oubre Jr. led all players with 21 points and the Philadelphia 76ers never trailed in a 127-119 win over the host Nets.

Philadelphia also received 18 points each from Tobias Harris and Paul Reed, while De'Anthony Melton posted a 15-point, 10-assist double-double in a game where the 76ers held out reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid.

Former Sixer Ben Simmons had nine assists and three steals for Brooklyn, but committed eight of the Nets' 27 turnovers on the night.

In Indianapolis, Tyrese Haliburton and Aaron Nesmith each had 15 points as the Indiana Pacers held on for a 116-112 win over Atlanta to hand the Hawks their first loss in four games this preseason.

Saddiq Bey finished with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting along with 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which trailed by as many as 29 points but cut its deficit to four in the final minutes. 



Victor Wembanyama scored 23 points in 23 minutes in his second preseason game to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 120-104 win over the Miami Heat on Friday.

The No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Wembanyma was 10 of 15 from the field with four rebounds, three assists, three blocks and four of San Antonio's 13 turnovers.

The 7-foot-4 center from France began his NBA career with 20 points in 19 minutes in the Spurs’ preseason opener against Oklahoma City on Monday.

Devin Vassell had 21 points and Jeremy Sochan added 10 points, six boards and three assists for the Spurs.

Jamal Cain was 6-of-8 on 3-pointers and led the Heat with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Jonathan Kuminga scored 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Stephen Curry had 18 points as the Golden State Warriors edged the Los Angeles Lakers, 129-125.

Rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis scored the go-ahead basket on a tip-in, then blocked a shot by former Indiana Hoosiers teammate Jalen Hood-Schifino at the other end.

Every Lakers starter scored in double figures, led by 17 points from Taurean Prince, who went 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

Austin Reaves had 16 points, Anthony Davis added 13 with six rebounds and four assists and LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell contributed 12 points apiece.

Victor Wembanyama scored 20 points in 19 minutes in his much-anticipated NBA preseason debut, a 122-121 loss by the San Antonio Spurs to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

The heralded No. 1 overall pick finished 8 of 13 from the field and made 2 of 5 shots from 3-point range before being removed midway through the third quarter. Wembanyama added five rebounds and two steals, though he did have a game-high four turnovers.

Wembanyama's first regular-season game will take place in a little over two weeks when the Spurs host the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 25.

Monday's contest also saw the return of Thunder center Chet Holmgren, the second overall pick of last year's draft who missed the entire 2022-23 season recovering from a foot injury. Holmgren posted a game-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting along with nine rebounds in just 16 minutes, and made both of his two 3-point attempts. 

Luguentz Dort and Isaiah Joe each added 14 points for Oklahoma City, which trailed 81-74 at the half before outscoring the Spurs by a 30-17 margin in the third quarter. 

Victor Wembanyama's first game as a San Antonio Spur drew quite a crowd, even if his performance didn't quite live up to the hype.

The 2023 No. 1 overall draft pick shot just 2 of 13 from the floor in Friday's NBA Las Vegas Summer League debut, a 76-68 Spurs' win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Wembanyama managed only nine points in 27 minutes in front of a sellout crowd of around 17,500 fans at the Thomas & Mack Center, though he showed glimpses of the immense potential that has made the 19-year-old Frenchman the NBA's most touted prospect since LeBron James in 2003. The 7-foot-3 phenom blocked five shots while grabbing eight rebounds and adding three assists. 

Brandon Miller, taken one spot behind Wembanyama at No. 2, also had a tough shooting night as the former University of Alabama star went 5-of-15 from the field while tallying 16 points and 11 rebounds for Charlotte.

The No. 3 and 4 overall picks also made their Summer League debuts Friday, though both had their evenings cut short by injuries.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson left his team's game against Houston in the third quarter after hurting his right shoulder, while Rockets guard Amen Thompson injured his left ankle in the final minute of Houston's 100-99 victory.

Henderson had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds in 21 minutes before departing, while Thompson racked up 16 points, five assists, four blocks and three steals.

Henderson left the Blazers' locker room without a brace or sling on his arm following the contest, though his availability for Portland's next game is as yet unknown.

The Trail Blazers will next face Wembanyama's Spurs on Sunday in the most anticipated matchup of that day's schedule.

There was no surprise atop Thursday’s 2023 NBA Draft. Victor Wembanyama has joined the San Antonio Spurs.

Wembanyama, widely considered the best draft prospect since LeBron James in 2003, was the no-doubt first selection to open Thursday’s draft at Barclays Center in New York.

With guard skills in a 7-foot-3 frame, Wembanyama is expected to blossom into a superstar in San Antonio and follow in the footsteps of fellow No. 1 overall picks Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

With the first pick a foregone conclusion, the intrigue heading into the draft was focused on NBA G-League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Alabama forward Brandon Miller.

The Charlotte Hornets ultimately opted to take Miller with the No. 2 pick, pairing a scoring forward with point guard and 2022 All-Star LaMelo Ball.

Henderson, who has previously said he was best player in the class, was selected third by the Portland Trail Blazers. The addition of a highly regarded point guard prospect is sure to ramp up the widespread trade speculation surrounding Damian Lillard.

The Thompson twins, products of Overtime Elite, followed by being selected back-to-back, with Amen Thompson going No. 4 to the Houston Rockets and Ausar Thompson picked fifth by the Detroit Pistons.

The pair becomes the second set of brothers to both become top-five draft picks in the common draft era, following Lonzo Ball (No. 2, 2017) and LaMelo Ball (No. 3, 2020).

Only one of the top five picks played NCAA basketball on their road to the NBA, the fewest since 2001, when players could be drafted directly from high school.

Heading into the draft, many pundits projected conditions ripe for a night full of trades, but teams mostly picked where they were slated.

One notable trade occurred when the Dallas Mavericks traded the No. 10 pick and Davis Bertans to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 12 pick, freeing up cap space for the Mavs via the traded player exception. Dallas used the 12th pick to select Duke center Dereck Lively II as the team continues to try to build a contender around Luka Doncic.

Dallas used the newfound roster flexibility almost immediately, acquiring big man Richaun Holmes and the 24th pick (Marquette forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper) from the Sacramento Kings.  

While all eyes were on Wembanyama at the draft’s onset, he wasn’t the only victory for basketball in France.

Forward Bilal Coulibaly, Wembanyama’s French League teammate on the Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, was picked seventh overall by the Indiana Pacers but was promptly traded to the Washington Wizards.

The Orlando Magic, who picked Paolo Banchero first overall in last year’s draft, added to their young core by selecting Arkansas guard Anthony Black at No. 6 and using the 11th pick on Michigan swingman Jett Howard, son of former All-Star Juwan Howard.

Fresh off their second NBA Finals appearance in four years, the Miami Heat used the No. 18 pick four-year UCLA product Jaime Jaquez Jr.

The NBA champion Denver Nuggets acquired the No. 29 pick to select Gonzaga forward Julian Strawther.

The San Antonio Spurs selected Victor Wembanyama with the first pick of Thursday’s NBA Draft, affirming what has been a foregone conclusion for more than a month.

The generational talent had been pegged to be the first overall pick for the past year and slotted to go to San Antonio since the Spurs won the league’s draft lottery May 16.

And now it’s official.

The 19-year-old French phenom is the third player to be selected first overall by the Spurs, joining David Robinson in 1987 and Tim Duncan in 1997 – both Hall of Famers and NBA champions.

Wembanyama makes the transition to the NBA after completing his career in the French League last Thursday with his team, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, losing in the championship series.

In 33 regular-season games this season, he averaged 21.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks.

Considered by many to be the best draft prospect since LeBron James in 2003, Wembanyama can seemingly do it all on the court.

Officially listed at 7-foot-3, he is a phenomenal rim protector, using his long arms to block and alter opponents’ shots.

He can score in the paint and battle for rebounds down low but can also then step out to the perimeter to knock down a 3-pointer.

An adept dribbler and passer, he also handles the ball like a point guard, something seemingly unheard of for someone of his size.

Possessing the rare combination of size, ball-handling and shooting, Wembanyama is expected to make an immediate impact in the NBA for a Spurs team that finished 22-60 last season to miss the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

By going first overall, he’s the first non-college freshman to be selected No. 1 since 2009, when the Los Angeles Clippers drafted Blake Griffin – a sophomore out of Oklahoma University.

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