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Victor Wembanyama Loses to Dallas Mavericks in Highly Anticipated Debut with San Antonio Spurs

Joe Paige | Sports Editor

The wait’s finally over. We finally got to witness this year's No. 1 Pick, Victor Wembanyama, in a full NBA game. On the second day of the regular season, we were treated to great matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs, which would give us our first look at the highly touted French phenom in a regular season game.

San Antonio will get 19 nationally televised games this year. Most teams who get gifted the No. 1 draft pick often receive an increase in nationally televised games from the previous season, like how the New Orleans Pelicans did back in 2019 when they drafted Zion Williamson. But this is quite a significant escalation when realizing they’d only have a mere 4 nationally televised games just a season ago.

If you were skeptical about how his defensive skills would translate to the NBA, only less than 2 minutes into the game and those doubts would be gone. Wembanyamas first big play in his career would be a quick reactive turn around block to a Kyrie Irving pull up jump shot on The Spurs first defensive possession in the game.

San Antonio would hold on to the lead for the majority of the first half, but in the second, Dallas would only make the game tighter and tighter as the clock went down. Just around about 8 minutes into the 3rd quarter, Wembanyama would be benched, having already collected 3 fouls.

Even though everybody was tuned in to see what San Antonio’s rookie would do, unexpectedly Dallas would also have a rookie of their own that would later surprise us. It was at this point that Dallas’ rookie Center Dereck Lively would make a bold attempt to steal the show, and to his credit, he probably did. This was clearly an audition for the Mav’s starting Center role, and it’s safe to say now that Lively most likely won this position after his showcase of talent that Wednesday night.

Lively finished his NBA debut with 16 points and 10 rebounds, as well as adding a few clips to his highlight reel. He quickly displayed unbelievable chemistry with both Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving, as well as showcase his ability to rim run and be an aggressive roller, all things Dallas really need to maximize their star guard duo.

The 4th Quarter, with just about 7 minutes left on the clock, would be where we enter crunch time. Although at this point Wembanyama was just one more foul away from being fouled out, Spurs head coach Greg Popovich wasn’t afraid to throw him in the game to help them try to secure their first win of the new season.

Once Wembanyama checked in, he’d try to make as much of an impact as he could, putting up 9 points in the last few minutes of the game. But even San Antonio’s collective effort wouldn’t be enough to outlast the clutch firepower of both Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving, who’d both hit pivotal 3-point shots in the last remaining minutes of the game to give Dallas the lead.

The Mavericks would win their first game of the season 126-119. Luka Dončić starts the season like we never left, dropping a 33 point triple-double, amassing 10 assists and 13 rebounds. Kyrie Irving ended the night with 22 points and 6 assists. Grant Williams also had a debut of his own, as the former champion got traded from Boston this offseason. He’d drop 17 points, 6 assists, and made 4 out of 8 of his threes in his first game in a Maverick jersey.

Even though Wembanyama may have not won the game, or scored more than 20 points, it was still a solid first game for him in his long-awaited debut. Wembanyama finished the game with 15 points and 5 rebounds, all of which were on the defensive end. San Antonio's must watch TV this year, it’s clear there’s still much for him to learn, but it’s certainly going to be exciting watching him do so throughout this season.


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