The San Antonio Spurs are enduring a tough phase, tying their franchise record with a 16th consecutive loss, despite the remarkable performance of their No. 1 pick, Victor Wembanyama. The Chicago Bulls, led by Colby White’s 24 points, handed the Spurs a 121-112 defeat on Friday.
Wembanyama, at only 19, became the youngest player in league history to achieve 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game, a remarkable feat in a tough season for the team. Former Spurs player and current Chicago Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan, who played under Gregg Popovich, expressed his belief in the Spurs' future potential.
“They’ve got everything else,” DeRozan said, highlighting the critical role of experience. “That goes a long way for a young team like that. They’re going to have it. They’re going to get it.
The experience that they’re gaining... I know it sucks for them right now losing, but with that, you gain experience and understanding of what it takes to be winners and what it takes to close out games”.
Bulls Overcome Spurs' Efforts
Despite Wembanyama’s impressive performance, which included a two-handed dunk off an inbounds pass from Jones and 10 points and 11 rebounds in the first half, the Spurs couldn’t capitalize on their young star’s momentum.
“It’s a little bit unfair how he rebounds (with) us around him,” Nikola Vucevic of the Bulls said, acknowledging Wembanyama’s impact on the game. DeRozan, too, highlighted the rookie's defensive capabilities.
“Man, hey listen, I didn’t know where he was coming from, even if wasn’t by me,” DeRozan remarked about Wembanyama's block. “He’s going to be a scary defender... You definitely have to be aware”.
While the Spurs showed flashes of potential, the Bulls maintained their composure to secure the win. White's 3-pointer in the third quarter was pivotal, helping the Bulls outscore the Spurs 35-20 in that period and gain the lead.
Spurs' Tre Jones pointed out the combination of factors contributing to their loss, including turnovers and physicality issues. "Turnovers, I think is something that’s consistent tonight. [Offensive] boards throughout the entire game, but obviously in the third quarter as well.
We stopped hitting shots as well and they just picked up their physicality and ended up getting to the free throw line as well," Jones said.