Spurs split I-35 series as they return home to San Antonio

Austin, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama (1) and guard Devin Vassell (24) react during overtime against the Brooklyn Nets at Moody Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

While the Frost Bank Center played host to Drake & J.Cole, the San Antonio Spurs would crash on little brothers couch for the weekend. In the second year of the now annual “I-35 series” played at the Moody Center on the campus of the University of Texas. After falling 117-106 to the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets, the San Antonio Spurs ended their weird weekend in Austin in even wilder fashion; outlasting the Brooklyn Nets 122-115 in overtime.

A new official attendance record for an athletic event at Moody Center: 16,223 

The barely two year old arena still smells like a new car, and the Spurs new stretch limousine Victor Wembanyama would finally get a chance to really open up the throttle and add some mileage to the odometer. In just his third game playing 35 minutes or more this season, Wembanyama totaled 33 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 blocks in a light Sunday drive downtown.

The back-to-back western conference rookie of the month is still averaging just 29.9 minutes per game. Coach Pop and his training staff occasionally letting Victor surpass that 30 minute mark in just 28 games this season. However, the last time the now 20 year old played over 35 minutes was in a late November loss to Golden State. The 118-112 loss on the road was the ONLY game this season Vic eclipsed 35 minutes in regulation. The other two occasions he saw extended minutes, were likely by accident… as both came in overtime wins over Houston and now Brooklyn.  

Victor towering tall above the rest

Wembanyama’s stats match his stature as they both tower over his peers. With just 14 games remaining he’s far ahead of the pace in total blocks, leading the pack while playing significantly less minutes than his pursuers.

Wemby isn’t just leading his fellow rookies in blocks, he’s leading the entire league, ahead by over 40 blocks through 68 games. Always in elite company when it comes to records, there are currently two other former Spurs players who had over 200 blocks in their rookie season. David Robinson with 319 & Tim Duncan with 206. Wembanyama just now eclipsing Duncan with 207 following the overturning of his game sealing block in overtime on Sunday.

While we can only wonder “why” the clear and obvious minutes restriction is still in effect; we can’t help but ask “what might Victors stats look like if he was really allowed to play freely? The quadruple double is imminent, that question has long been answered, as i said its only a matter of when.

In reduced minutes, Wembanyama is already the first player EVER with 200+ blocks, 100+ threes and 75+ steals in a single season.

But could he really be the first player to win Rookie of the Year AND Defensive Player of the Year in the same season?

Hopefully we get a chance at a glimpse at those answers, as Wembanyama and company will return to their TRUE home court this evening as the San Antonio Spurs host Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are coming off of a sensational buzzer-beater from Irving to win 107-105 over the same Denver Nuggets that recently played in Austin.





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