NBA regular season

Victor Wembanyama shines with 7 blocks as Spurs cruise over Blazers


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Victor Wembanyama shines with 7 blocks as Spurs cruise over Blazers

DOMINATING. San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) dunks in front of Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) in the second half at Frost Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama drops 30 points with 7 blocks as the San Antonio Spurs ride a 31-6 start to dominate the Portland Trail Blazers

Victor Wembanyama collected 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and seven blocked shots and keyed an early run that stoked the San Antonio Spurs’ 118-105 win over the short-handed host Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday (Friday, December 29, Manila time).

The teams, who have the worst records in the Western Conference, will complete a back-to-back on Friday, also in Portland.

The Spurs built a 28-point lead early in the second quarter and still led by 14 at halftime as Portland slowly whittled away at the deficit. The Trail Blazers cut the margin to eight points about midway through the third quarter and were down by 13 heading into the final period.

The Spurs then reasserted themselves and rolled to the win, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Devin Vassell added 17 points for San Antonio, with Jeremy Sochan scoring 16, Malaki Branham 13 and Zach Collins 11.

Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon led Portland with 29 points apiece, and Scoot Henderson added 25. Grant added 10 rebounds and five assists. The Trail Blazers have dropped three of the past four games.

The Trail Blazers were without Deandre Ayton (knee), Anfernee Simons (illness), Shaedon Sharpe (thigh) and Duop Reath (lower back strain) on Thursday and found themselves in arrears from the start with their makeshift lineup.

San Antonio blitzed to a 31-6 lead after a running layup from Zach Collins at the 4:18 mark of the first quarter as Portland made just two of its first 14 shots from the floor.

The Spurs assumed a 38-14 lead at the end of the period while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor and holding Portland to just 21.7 percent.

The Trail Blazers worked their way back into the game, going on a 7-0 run capped by a free throw by Ibou Badji to cut San Antonio’s lead to 44-26.

Portland clawed to within 12 points on three occasions. On the last of those three, the Spurs got a pair of free throws from Tre Jones with five seconds remaining in the half to settle for a 59-45 advantage at the break.

Wembanyama led all scorers before halftime with 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the floor while Sochan had 12 points for the Spurs. Henderson paced Portland with 13 points. –

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