Victor Wembanyama’s first NBA game was going through a rough patch.
While the San Antonio rookie waited for his NBA Summer League debut against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, the game in front of him ended on a thrilling note.
Jabari Smith Jr. sank a three-pointer on the buzzer and helped the Houston Rockets to a 100-99 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in a game where two top-five picks couldn’t finish the game due to injuries.
Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 pick, injured his right shoulder in the third quarter and did not return for Portland (0-1). He finished the game with 15 points and six assists.
Amen Thompson, the fourth overall pick, injured his ankle late in the game and didn’t return for Houston (1-0). He had 16 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.
Smith, No. 3 last year, scored 29 of his game-best 33 points in the second half. Tari Eason contributed 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Cam Whitmore contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Shaedon Sharpe led the Trail Blazers with 21 points. Jabari Walker had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Then Wembanyama and the Spurs finally took the field for a 76-68 win over the Hornets and Brandon Miller, who followed him as the No. 2. Wembanyama finished the game with nine points in two-for-13 shots, eight rebounds, five blocks and three assists.
Summer League tickets sold out Friday, with all 17,500 claimed, the NBA said. The league was also close to selling out on Saturday and Sunday; Wembanyama is expected to play for Spurs against Portland on Sunday.
Wembanyama – the 2.10-metre-tall French teenager whose debut was highly anticipated – made headlines on Thursday when Britney Spears filed a police report saying a Spurs guard beat her as she tried to enter Wembanyama approach. Despite the incident, Wembanyama appeared excited when told Friday night’s game was sold out.
The Las Vegas games last until July 17th. Summer league competitions are slightly shorter than regular season games. Quarters each last 10 minutes instead of the usual 12.
Lakers 103, Warriors 96
Max Christie finished the game with 22 points and seven rebounds, beating the Lakers (1-0) to Golden State (0-1).
Cole Swider sank five three-pointers and scored 19 for the Lakers, who shot 43.8% from three-point range (14 of 32). First-round pick Jalen Hood-Schifino totaled nine points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Second-rounder Maxwell Lewis had seven goals and four rebounds from the bench.
Gui Santos scored 25 points, leading five Golden State players by double digits. Reggie Perry added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Brandin Podziemski, the 19th pick overall, had nine points and 11 rebounds.