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Victor Wembanyama: Rockets, Dillon Brooks are the hardest defense

The San Antonio Spurs are 0-2 against the Houston Rockets over the past eight days, and it’s been a relative struggle for prized rookie Victor Wembanyama, the French phenom.

While still providing defensive value with his length and versatility, the 7-foot-4 big man has averaged 11.5 points per game while shooting 40.9% from the field. That’s well below his season-long averages of 20.8 points per game on 46.8% shooting.

In postgame comments after Tuesday’s home loss, “Wemby” was asked about the challenges of being defended by Houston and physical defenders such as Dillon Brooks. Per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News, Wembanyama responded:

The physicality, the energy. Every night it’s a challenge, but this is a very aggressive team defensively, so this is the most hard.

For Rockets head coach Ime Udoka, who is known for his defensive principles and an emphasis on tough, hard-nosed play, those comments should be music to his ears. Houston (30-35), which ranks seventh in the NBA in defensive rating, has won five of its last six games and four straight on the road.

The Rockets are 5-1 in the month of March, and Brooks’ self-described physical presence versus Wembanyama made a clear difference in two of those five victories.

For the 2023-24 season, Houston finished with three wins in four games against the Spurs. The lone loss came in overtime in October.

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire