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Spurs brace for challenge against Nuggets as Victor Wembanyama shines amidst Austin excitement


Victor Wembanyama, Spurs welcome Nikola Jokic and Nuggets to Austin in rare meeting vs. champions this season.

It’s been 11 months since the San Antonio Spurs played in Austin. It hasn’t been quite that long since they last faced the Denver Nuggets, but it has been a while. Friday’s game against the defending NBA champions will mark their first meeting since Thanksgiving weekend.

Rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama had the kind of performance that’s become somewhat routine for him when they first got together. He scored 22 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked 4 shots, and recorded 6 steals. Still, he took a backseat to Nuggets star Nikola Jokic that night.

Spurs get set for Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) takes a shot over Miami Heat guard Terry Rozier (2) during the first half at Kaseya Center.
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

In a 132-120 Nuggets victory against the Spurs on November 26, the two-time NBA MVP poured in what easily proved a game-high 39 points. He fell just one assist short of a triple-double with 11 rebounds and 9 assists.

“Actually, it is. He’s a joy to watch,” Gregg Popovich responded when asked if he considers facing the 2024 NBA Finals MVP fun. “He’s something else.”

Come Friday in Austin, Wembanyama is looking forward to only his second meeting with the 29-year-old center.

“Everyone is excited to be here. Facing Jokic, of course, is a very, very interesting match-up. It’s somebody I learned a lot from, just watching him. So playing against him again I think is going to teach me a lot.”

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Though he carries a much smaller profile, count Spurs reserve guard Blake Wesley as another player who’s seen the Serbian star from afar.

“It’s going to be my first time because every time that they went to Denver I was either in the G League, then last year I was hurt. It’s going to be crazy. I know he’s a pain in the butt when it comes to playing him, but I’m excited, Wesley continued. “Take the challenge. Want to play the best players every night so that’s what we do. I know Victor’s excited so we’re all excited.”

Starting point guard Tre Jones expects a raucous environment in the Texas Longhorns home arena.

“It’s definitely going to be crazy. It’s going to be through the roof there in the Moody Center. We’ve got Victor in there. We’ve got the defending champs coming. It couldn’t be any better than that. We’re looking forward to it,” the fourth-year Spur said. “It’s going to be a fun weekend up there in Austin. We’re going to be go out, give it our best again, and hopefully give our fans something to cheer for.”

Victor Wembanyama and company look to knock off defending champs

Denver heads in with a 46-20 record that’s good for second in the Western Conference standings.

“They play the right way. They’ve got good players. They’ve got Jamal Murray, Jokic, Michael Porter, Jr.,” Wesley said. “They all play a role. Defending champs so it doesn’t get much better than that when they play hard.”

The Spurs hope a little home cooking, in the form of Central Texas hospitality, helps propel what would more than likely rank as their best win of a tough season.

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“I think it’s going to feel like home because I think the energy is going to be high,” Wembanyama admitted. “I think it’s going to be very intense.”

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About the Author

Hector Ledesma has been covering the Spurs in San Antonio since 2005, but he has been following them for even longer than that. An award-winning journalist born and raised in San Antonio, Hector has worked across all types of television and radio platforms. His work extends online and through social media (@HectorLedesmaTV) where he continues that work with ClutchPoints.


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