It took until the final few seconds, but Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs got the job done.
The Spurs rallied back from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to grab the 115-114 win over the Phoenix Suns at the Footprint Center, hours after the reigning No. 1 overall pick showed off his incredible Slender Man Halloween costume in the back halls of the arena.
Johnson’s dunk gave the Spurs their first lead of the night.
Durant then missed a 10-footer at the buzzer, which gave the Spurs their first road win of the season.
Wembanyama was essentially shut down through the first 24 minutes of the game. He had six points at halftime and didn’t get his first bucket until the final seconds — which came in the form of a wild left-handed dunk over Suns forward Drew Eubanks.
It was Durant, though, that got the better of Wembanyama for most of the matchup. Durant drilled a huge step-back bucket over the outstretched 7-footer in the first quarter, and helped power the Suns to a 20-point lead early in the third period.
But the Spurs battled back in the fourth quarter. They cut the Suns' lead to just five points midway through the final period while Durant was on the bench thanks to an 8-0 run powered by a Wembanyama block and a layup he somehow made through a foul — though he missed the ensuing free throw.
Wemby with the TOUGH and-1 finish 🤯 pic.twitter.com/QQU3NzsPRf
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) November 1, 2023
The Spurs cut the deficit to three points after a pair of Tre Jones free throws at the two minute mark. That led to the wild finish, which gave the Spurs their one-point win.
Durant led the Suns with 26 points and seven assists in the loss, and he shot 12-of-19 from the field. He surpassed 27,000 career points in the game. It took him 990 games to get there, which made him the fourth-fastest player to do so in history. Eric Gordon added 20 points for Phoenix, and Jusuf Nurkic finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Wembanyama finished with 18 points and eight rebounds in the win for the Spurs, who are now 2-2 on the season. Johnson led San Antonio with 27 points and four assists, and shot 10-of-20 from the field. Devin Vassell added 18 points and six rebounds.
Wembanyama rocks incredible Slender Man Halloween costume
Wembanyama wasn't just excited about his first matchup against Durant, who he said was one of his favorite players to watch growing up, on Tuesday night.
Ahead of the Spurs' wild win over the Suns, Wembanyama entered Footprint Center as the 2009 fictional character Slender Man.
Wemby as Slenderman for Halloween 👻 pic.twitter.com/wHWfjybW3g
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 31, 2023
It's possible the rookie might take the crown from noted Halloween fanatic Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks forward played the day before the holiday, but that certainly didn't curb his enthusiasm.
Antetokounmpo came dressed as the Incredible Hulk before the Bucks' 122-114 win over the Miami Heat. The NBA champion even took questions as the Marvel superhero.
Giannis Antetokounmpo just did his full media availability with an Incredible Hulk mask on his face.
Remained earnest and serious throughout the entire session. pic.twitter.com/qa7URaQFS1
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) October 31, 2023
It remains to be seen if the Spurs forward will follow Antetokounmpo's and James' examples and commit to his Slender Man role with the same energy. For Wembanyama's first go-around in the league, his costume was a success. Through his first two weeks, he's showing off his range of abilities both on and off the court.
Wembanyama will get another shot at the Suns on Thursday night in Phoenix.