NBA

Wembanyama delighted to face 'greatness' after beating Knicks despite Brunson's 61

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

Victor Wembanyama wants to be part of "greatness" after his San Antonio Spurs team overcame Jalen Brunson's 61-point effort to beat the New York Knicks on Friday.

Brunson became just the third Knicks player to ever score more than 60 points in a game, 38 of which came in the second half to lead his team on a 21-point comeback, but it ultimately counted for little as the Spurs took a 130-126 victory after overtime.

Wembanyama had a career-high effort of his own, scoring 40 points and collecting 20 rebounds to lead his team to a win that moves the Spurs to 18-56 on the season, still bottom of the Western Conference, while the Knicks slip to 44-29.

Wembanyama managed 13 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter to hold off the Knicks' comeback before scoring five points and collecting two rebounds in overtime to ensure Brunson's huge game was in vain.

The Spurs rookie was appreciative to have prevailed in the face of Brunson's brilliance, telling reporters: "I've never seen so [much] greatness before this season.

"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 am] already able to compete with those guys. I'm not near [them] but I'm on the right path. I know it and I'm going to get there one day soon."

Brunson has full faith that Wembanyama will go right to the top, also stating that he would only enjoy having had the second-highest scoring game in Knicks' history when he retires due to coming out on the losing end.

"He's going to be one of the greatest players this game has seen," Brunson explained. "[It is] just the way he's built and what he's been able to do so far.

"I've got a lot of respect for him, and it's definitely tough to get a shot up and in over him."

Having watched Brunson and Wembanyama go blow for blow before his team ultimately came out on top, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich stated he had never seen a game quite like it, while heaping praise on his star player.

"It just shows what [Wembanyama] is going to be when he understands all the physicality that's coming at him all the time and what to do about it," Popovich said.

"Fortunately, he's also a hell of an instinctive passer and he's willing to do what he needs to do in that regard. So, he's pretty special."

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