By Field Level Media
October 26, 2023 – 5:25 AM UTC
Luka Doncic produced a triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks spoil Victor Wembanyama’s NBA debut with a 126-119 victory over the host San Antonio Spurs in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night.
Doncic posted 33 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists only hours after being cleared to play as he deals with a left calf strain.
Wembanyama, the 7-foot-4, 19-year-old forward from France who was the league’s top draft pick, finished with just 15 points and struggled with foul trouble. He played 23 minutes and scored nine of his points in the fourth quarter.
Trailing by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, the Mavericks trimmed the deficit to four going into halftime, then rallied to carry a 96-91 lead into the fourth quarter.
In a back-and-forth final frame that saw five ties, a pair of free throws by the Spurs’ Devin Vassell with 2:09 to play was answered by a 3-pointer and then a layup by Dallas’ Kyrie Irving — the latter off an assist by Doncic with 1:25 left — that flipped the lead to the Mavericks for good.
The triple-double was the 57th of Doncic’s career, 10th all-time and fifth among active players. Irving added 22 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Grant Williams scored 17 each, and rookie Dereck Lively II had 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Mavericks.
Vassell led the Spurs with 23 points, with Keldon Johnson hitting for 17, Tre Jones adding 16 in a reserve role, Zach Collins scoring 14 and Jeremy Sochan adding 13 points.
Wembanyama scored his first NBA points on a 3-pointer at the 8:24 mark of the first period that extended the Spurs’ lead to 13-7. San Antonio led for 43-36 at the quarter’s end.
The Mavericks drew even at 52-52 on a Williams 3-pointer with 6:09 to play in the second quarter. After the teams twice traded baskets, San Antonio ripped off a 12-0 run capped by a jumper and a 3-pointer by Vassell that gave the Spurs a 68-56 advantage with 1:13 left in the half.
Dallas responded by scoring the quarter’s final eight points, the last six by Williams — including a 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining to pull the Mavericks within 68-64 at the break.
Doncic led Dallas with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists before halftime, and Hardaway added 15 points. Vassell scored 15 first-half points to pace the Spurs, who also got 10 points each in the half from Sochan and Johnson.
–Field Level Media