San Antonio’s Victor Wembanyama and Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren lived up to the hype in their first ever NBA preseason games.
Holmgren had 21 points and nine rebounds in 16 first-half minutes, and the Thunder defeated the Spurs 122-121 on Monday night. Wembanyama had 20 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes, mostly in the first half.
Wembanyama was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft. Holmgren was the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft, but he suffered a foot injury in the offseason and missed all of last season.
The 7-foot-1 Holmgren won the opening tip against the 7-4 Wembanyama, but the two did not match up often. Both showed off their wide range of skills, from handling the ball and driving through traffic to making 3-pointers. Holmgren looked to score in the early minutes while Wembanyama mostly deferred to his teammates.
Holmgren scored first when he made one of two free throws. He scored on a driving layup, then got fouled shortly after that and made two free throws. He scored five points in the first three minutes.
Wembanyama became more aggressive as he got into the flow. His first basket was a two-handed dunk. He then rejected Jalen Williams, an All-Rookie selection last season.
A bit later, Wembanyama drove right at Holmgren, scored, drew a foul and made the free throw to put the Spurs up 21-15.
Holmgren had 14 points and seven rebounds in eight minutes before taking a break. Wembanyama had 10 points in seven minutes before his first rest.
The two continued their show in the second quarter. At one point, Wembanyama hit a 25-foot 3-pointer and Holmgren answered with a 27-footer 10 seconds later.
The Spurs had a 65-48 lead when Wembanyama rested and the Thunder went on a 21-12 run to climb back into the game.
Wembanyama had 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting in the first half to help San Antonio take an 81-74 lead at the break.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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