Victor Wembanyama stifles Raptors with second career triple-double, this time with blocks

Feb 12, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) drives to the net against San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) during the first half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

This is the kind of rare stat line the San Antonio Spurs envisioned when they landed the No. 1 pick in last summer’s draft.

Victor Wembanyama overwhelmed the Toronto Raptors Monday night on both sides of the court with his second career triple-double. This time, he did it with blocks.

The rookie Spurs center posted 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, five assists and two steals in a 122-99 blowout of the Raptors in Toronto. He shot 10 of 14 from the field, 2 of 4 from 3-point distance and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line. He did it all in 29 minutes. His seven turnovers marked the only blemish on his stat line.

The feat arrives just weeks after Wembanyama’s first career triple-double. In that game, a 130-108 win over the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 10, Wembanyama posted 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. It took him all of 21 minutes to do it.

Wembanyama recorded his career-high ninth block late in the third quarter on Monday with a stuff of a Scottie Barnes dunk attempt from behind.

His 10th block emphatically sent back a Gradey Dick putback attempt with 6:35 remaining and secured the triple-double.

The 112-87 Spurs lead at that point was big enough that head coach Gregg Popovich felt comfortable pulling his prized rookie from the game.

Monday’s effort puts Wembanyama in rare company. Per ESPN, he’s the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1996 to tally 20-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, 10-plus blocks and five assists in a single game.

Per StatMuse, he’s only the fourth rookie in NBA history to record a triple-double with blocks and the first since Spurs great David Robinson did it three times in 1990. Mark Eaton and Ralph Sampson are the other two, each achieving the feat in 1983.

The triple-double was the first of its kind since Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela recorded 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 23, 2021.

Wembanyama’s in the midst of a remarkable rookie campaign that’s largely seen him meet the gargantuan expectations that he arrived with in the NBA. He entered Monday averaging 20.3 points, 10 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals and a league-best three blocks per game while shooting 46.4% from the floor and 31.6% from 3-point distance on 4.9 attempts per game.

His percentages and efficiency only project to improve as his game matures. The next step will be translating his individual accolades into team success. The Spurs entered Monday in last place in the West at 10-43. Monday’s effort against the Raptors in a 23-point win is the exact kind of impact the Spurs have been hoping for.

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