Wednesday's Lakers versus Spurs game may have been missing LeBron James, but there was plenty of star power with Victon Wembanyama and Anthony Davis putting on a show.
Davis put Wembanyama on a poster midway through the second quarter and took a moment to embrace the moment, flexing and shouting while the crowd reacted to the dunk.
Wembanyama returned the favor putting Davis into the basket moments later and following that up with an alley-oop. Los Angeles was in control of the game, but at least we were going to get some haymakers from these two titans.
LOOK AT VICTOR WEMBANYAMA pic.twitter.com/JBKaCxHNaq— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) December 14, 2023
In the fourth, Wembanyama helped put the Spurs back in the game, and he was all over the floor, blocking Jaxson Hayes, hitting threes from the wing and dunking on anyone who dared to contest.
Davis still got the better of Wembanyama as he went on to hit clutch free throws down the stretch and sealed the win with an inbounds pass steal. Davis ended the night with 37 points, 11 rebounds and four steals and Wembanyama wasn’t too far behind with 30 points, 13 rebounds and three steals.
Speaking to the media after Tuesday’s loss to the Mavericks before his showdown with Wemby, Davis reflected on his own experience as a No. 1 draft pick and all the pressure that comes with being the future of a franchise.
“It’s tough,” Davis said. “Obviously, it’s a lot of pressure. Everyone is locking in on you, whether it’s media or other players coming in that you’re facing. Pressure to perform well from the outside. But, as long as – at least for me when I came into the league, obviously, my path was a little different being able to play with guys like Bron and Kobe and Melo and all those guys in the Olympics to kind of make it a smoother transition for me. You just have to go in and just play, find your way. You’re going to have ups and downs in a season.
“Obviously, he’s an exceptional talent but don’t stress yourself out over the pressure from anyone else. You have to know what your team wants from you and don’t think that you have to turn your franchise around in your first year. I don’t think no one has ever done that…Even the greatest to ever lace them up didn’t do it in his rookie year. I think you just slow roll it, take your time, each year, each game you get better and better.”
Davis rarely gives such an introspective overview of his NBA journey, but if anyone can give Wembanyama advice, it’s him. He had a similar situation in New Orleans and is still constantly dealing with the pressure of being the guy for a team and has seen the highs and lows that entails.
Yes, the matchup between Wembanyama and Davis was entertaining, but the Lakers were fortunate to hang on and win on Wednesday. Fans won’t have to wait long for the next one as the rematch is happening Friday in San Antonio.
It will be interesting to see how Wembanyama adjusts now that he’s seen how Davis plays up close and, certainly, Davis will have counters up his sleeve as well. This duel has the makings of being the next great big showdown, which is a rarity, with the league being more guard and wing-based when it comes to elite players and individual matchups.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.