Chet Holmgren vs Victor Wembanyama: Best highlights, plays from Thunder, Spurs rookies NBA preseason matchup

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Two of the league’s brightest stars faced off for the first time in NBA uniforms as Chet Holmgren and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs in preseason. 

Holmgren, last year’s No. 2 overall pick, missed all of the 2022-23 campaign due to a foot injury, but looked right at home on the NBA floor, finishing with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, adding nine rebounds and one block in 16 minutes, while Wembaynama recorded 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, five rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes.

The youngsters had not played against each other since 2021 when they squared off in the FIBA U19’s in Latvia as USA defeated France 83-81 and again tonight, Holmgren walked away with the win as the Thunder picked up a 122-121 win.

MORE: Will Victor Wembanyama or Chet Holmgren take home Rookie of the Year?

“Obviously, he’s a great player,” Holmgren said of Wembanyama. “But that’s what the NBA is, man. There are great players every single night. You just have to keep a steady head and not let tonight or tomorrow or the day after that make you go up or down.”

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich sat Wembanyama for the entire fourth quarter, but he still managed to have the most points by a Spurs rookie in a preseason game since DeJuan Blair in 2009. per ESPN Stats & Info.

“He just went out and played. [There was] no big game plan for him or anything like that. He just played basketball, which he likes to do and is good at.”

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The skill overlap between the two rising stars is obvious, with both players confidently handling the ball, stepping back from the 3-point line and using their size and length to be disruptive on the defensive end, especially at the rim. 

In their first matchup at the NBA level, both players put on a show, giving us a glimpse of what could be the next great NBA rivalry. 

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Chet Holmgren vs. Victor Wembayama, highlights, top plays

Holmgren and Wembanyama both got off to fast starts at Paycom Center, combining to score 39 points on 14-of-16 shooting in the first half, with no shortage of highlights. 

Wembanyama got his first points of the game off a tip-in at the rim, followed by a two-handed flush, before showing his elite defensive acumen, denying Jalen Williams at the rim.  

WEMBY SAYS NO ⛔️

…for the first of many times.

Watch live on NBA TV: https://t.co/htyakZeFve pic.twitter.com/FF1EkDJ0WB

— NBA (@NBA) October 10, 2023

Holmgren got his scoring underway at the free-throw line, before scoring on a driving layup, followed by a 3-pointer.

Anything Wembanyama did, Holmgren had an answer for as midway through the first period, the two traded buckets on consecutive plays. 

First Wembanyama streaked out in the open floor for an emphatic jam, which Holmgren followed up on the next play, bringing the ball up the floor and attacking the basket, finishing through contact for the and-1. 

HUGE WEMBY SLAM.
CHET AND-1 IN RESPONSE.

The 2023 #1 pick and 2022 #2 pick are TAKING OVER in their #NBAPreseason debuts!

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📺 NBA TV pic.twitter.com/Ty8RnSiPv9

— NBA (@NBA) October 10, 2023

Wembanyama’s smooth off-the-dribble game was in full effect, spinning into the paint before scooping home the finish with his left.

Reminder: He’s 7-foot-5.

The spin.
The off-hand scoop.

This isn’t normal 🤯

Wemby has 18 points in the first half of his #NBAPreseason debut on NBA TV! pic.twitter.com/Go6k8gkICt

— NBA (@NBA) October 10, 2023

The pair continued their battle in the second quarter, as Wembanyama first hit a 3-pointer, which Holmgren answered back just seconds later with an even deeper one from 27 feet. After a Josh Giddey layup, Wembanyama dialed in another triple to bring up his 18th point of the half. 

These #NBARooks are trading threes like they aren’t well over 7 feet tall 😱

18 for Wemby, 17 for Chet in the first half on NBA TV… who else is excited for the season?? pic.twitter.com/eV8ol0C1MZ

— NBA (@NBA) October 10, 2023

Wembanyama’s triple gave the Spurs an 18-point lead, before the Thunder reeled off an 18-5 run, punctuated by Holmgren’s monster alley-oop flush, showcasing his pick-and-roll game. 

DUNK PARTY IN OKC ⛈️⛈️⛈️

18-5 run for the @okcthunder on NBA TV! pic.twitter.com/HbVfcDW8Xv

— NBA (@NBA) October 10, 2023

With both players set to make a big impact for their respective teams, expect them to be locked in a tight battle for Rookie of the Year, with this just the start of what could become a legendary big man battle for the next 10-15 years. 

When is Holmgren and Wembanyama’s first matchup in the NBA?

Fans will have to wait till November 14 to see the two young stars battle, with their first NBA matchup as part of the In-Season Tournament, which will air on TNT. 

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Date: Tuesday, Nov. 14
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | 4:30 p.m. PT
TV channel (national): TNT
Live stream: Sling TV | NBA League Pass 

Fans in the United States can also stream Thunder vs. Spurs on Sling TV.

Sign up for Sling TV to watch your favorite live sports, news and entertainment. There are no long-term contracts and you can change your channel lineup anytime.

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