West Notes: Spurs, Victor Wembanyama, Nuggets, Lakers


Coach Gregg Popovich indicated he’s surprised by the way rookie center Victor Wembanyama has dominated.Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs, NBA

“It’s more than I expected as far as the stats are concerned,” Popovich said, via Marc J. Spears of Andscape. “I didn’t know he was going to lead the league in shot-blocking. It’s kind of like the David Robinson thing. We’d finish a game and start taking David for granted so much. We’d say, ‘Damn, David, did he rebound tonight? What did he score tonight?’ I’m thinking he got 12, 15 points. And you look at the stats and was 24 points and 11 rebounds and three blocks. And you didn’t realize it while the game was going on because you expect it from him.”

Wembanyama is averaging 20.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals and a whopping 3.3 blocks. The Spurs have been bad, but most people don’t expect the franchise to stay down for long. Not with Wemby around.

“He is getting better and better and continuing to build and build on both ends of the court,” forward Keldon Johnson told Spears. “Ultimately, it makes it better for everyone else when he’s playing the way he’s playing. He’s upped it up a notch for all of us.”

  • The Spurs are just one of eight teams to never have had a player file for bankruptcy, as relayed in an interesting report by KSAT.


The defending champions have turned it around since the All-Star break, having won four in a row. They had lost three straight heading into the break.

“I’m sure there are plenty of people around Denver jumping off bridges,” coach Michael Malone jokingly told reporters. “And everybody’s just got to take a chill pill and relax. Take a deep breath. This is a good team and when we’re healthy, we’re a really good team. That’s been the key. This group has proven they can beat anybody on any given night.”

Denver is two behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference. But again, the Nuggets are picking up steam.

“We came in after the All-Star break, everybody had the same mentality, the same goals in mind, and that’s to get back to the No. 1 spot and try to go back-to-back,” shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said.


Star forward LeBron James suggested there’s really no easy way to explain his 19-point eruption in the fourth quarter to beat the Clippers on Wednesday.

“It’s just a feeling when you feel like everything you put up is going in,” James told reporters. “I just kept it consistent. I wasn’t taking ill-advised shots. I stayed in the course of the offense. My teammates did a great job of continuing to find me, and I just tried to dictate the tempo, dictate the game. … It’s just a zone. Can’t really describe it. Wish you could stay in it forever.”

The Lakers overcame a 21-point deficit for the win in the Clippers’ final home game in the series at the shared downtown arena.

  • Guard D’Angelo Russell: “How can you be surprised with some of the things (James) does? A lot of guys locked in defensively and gave us what we needed, but he’s a huge reason we won this game, just from him being him. As a group, we fought.”
  • We have more on the game here and here. And more on the Lakers on our Lakers page.

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