Victor Wembanyama produces masterclass as San Antonio Spurs overcome Jalen Brunson’s career-high night

Victor Wembanyama produced one of the best performances of his fledgling NBA career, racking up a career-high 40 points to help the San Antonio Spurs defeat the New York Knicks 130-126 on Friday.

The Frenchman also totalled 20 rebounds and seven assists as the Spurs outlasted the incredible effort from Knicks’ point-guard Jalen Brunson, who scored a career-best 61 points.

The night had the air of a heavyweight bout as Wembanyama and Brunson went head to head in a scoring frenzy on court.

Despite Brunson’s brilliance, though, it was the Wembanyama who got the last laugh, notably sinking a three-pointer in overtime to help seal the win for his team.

Long-tipped as one of the most exciting ever NBA prospects, Wembanyma became the first rookie since Shaquille O’Neal in 1993 to record 40 points and 20 rebounds in a single game, per the NBA.

“I’ve never seen so much greatness before,” Wembanyama told reporters, when asked whether he wants to be part of more duels like he had with Brunson on Friday.

“I’ve just witnessed so much greatness and I want to be a part of it.

“I always wanted to but, more and more, seeing that I’m already able to compete with those guys. I’m not near, but I’m on the right path. I know it and I’m going to get there one day soon.”

Jalen Brunson produced a brilliant performance but it wasn't enough for the win. - Darren Carroll/NBAE/Getty Images
Jalen Brunson produced a brilliant performance but it wasn't enough for the win. - Darren Carroll/NBAE/Getty Images

Despite all his efforts, it turned out to be a frustrating night for Brunson. Not only was his career-high 61 points not enough to secure the win, he was also just one point behind the Knicks’ single-game scoring record, set by Carmelo Anthony in 2014.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich heaped praise on the “amazing” Brunson but saved special mention for how Wembanyama was developing in the league.

“It just shows what he’s going to be when he understands all the physicality that’s coming at him,” Popovich told reporters.

“Fortunately, he’s also a hell of an instinctive passer […] so he’s pretty special.”

Spurs had led the Knicks by 17 points at half-time, but the gap was closed to just three points by the end of the third quarter.

New York then grabbed the lead, with Wembanyama sending the game into overtime with a pair of three throws before the Spurs held onto the win.

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