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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Apr 10, 2024 9:18 am

Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama could sit as Thunder jostle for playoff position

Victor Wembanyama  thunder

Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama might have secured Rookie of the Year status.

But Chet Holmgren of the Oklahoma City Thunder, perhaps his top challenger, is preparing for the playoffs.

Wembanyama’s Spurs will take on Holmgren’s Thunder on Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

There’s a chance Wembanyama, who had 18 points and seven blocks in Tuesday’s 102-87 road win against the Memphis Grizzlies, won’t play.

“I’m not sure it makes much sense to push it,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Wembanyama’s workload. “We’ll see how he feels how his body is.”

The Spurs are 2-7 without Wembanyama, the 20-year-old who was the top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Wembanyama is averaging 20 points, 13 rebounds and 4.3 assists in three games against the Thunder. That includes a game with 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in the Spurs’ 132-118 win on Feb. 29.

In that game, he became the first player in NBA history with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and five 3-pointers in a game.

San Antonio (20-59) has won five of its past eight.

While the Spurs enter the game last in the Western Conference and well out of playoff position, the Thunder are still in the thick of the hunt for one of the top seeds in the conference.

Oklahoma City (54-25) enters Wednesday a game behind the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets for the top spot.

The Thunder clinched a top three seed with Tuesday’s 112-105 comeback win over Sacramento.

Holmgren had 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

“Not every game’s going to be perfect but I try to put myself in the best position every game,” Holmgren said.

Holmgren is averaging 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists against the Spurs this season.

Holmgren has one luxury Wembanyama doesn’t — he’s not asked to carry the offensive load for Oklahoma City.

In Tuesday’s game, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander returned after missing four consecutive games and six of the past seven with a quad contusion.

Gilgeous-Alexander suffered the injury March 20 in Utah and played in the next three games before taking the time off to heal.

In his return Tuesday, Gilgeous-Alexander had 40 points, hitting several crucial shots late as Oklahoma City came back from a 20-point deficit.

“I tried to play through the injury, but it wasn’t healing fast enough, so I figured I’d get (a) break and get some work and not come back until I was 100 percent,” Gilgeous-Alexander said after Tuesday’s win. “But I felt 100 percent tonight for sure.”

After losing three consecutive games for the first time this season, the Thunder have won back-to-back games.

Oklahoma City’s Gordon Hayward has missed the past two games after experiencing leg pain in Friday’s loss at Indiana.

The Spurs remain without Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan and Devin Vassell.

The game is the last of four meetings between the teams this season, with the Thunder leading the series 2-1.

Both teams have just two games remaining after Wednesday’s matchup.

–Field Level Media

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