Wembanyama debuts after two top-5 picks hurt in thrilling finish to the previous Summer League game

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Portland Trail Blazers' Scoot Henderson shoots over Houston Rockets' Tari Eason during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Friday, July 7, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGASVictor Wembanyama's first NBA game had a tough act to follow.

While the San Antonio rookie waited to make his NBA Summer League debut Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets, the game before his ended with a thrilling finish.

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Jabari Smith Jr. hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to rally the Houston Rockets to a 100-99 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in a game that saw two top-five picks unable to finish the game due to injuries.

Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 selection, injured his right shoulder in the third quarter and did not return for Portland (0-1). He finished with 15 points and six assists.

Amen Thompson, the fourth overall pick, injured his ankle late in the game and did not return for Houston (1-0). He had 16 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

Smith, the No. 3 pick last year, scored 29 of his game-high 33 points in the second half. Tari Eason pitched in with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Cam Whitmore contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Shaedon Sharpe topped the Blazers with 21 points. Jabari Walker added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Then Wembanyama and the Spurs finally got on the floor for a 76-68 victory over the Hornets and Brandon Miller, who followed him as the No. 2 pick. Wembanyama finished with nine points on 2-for-13 shooting, eight rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists.

Summer league tickets were sold out for Friday, with all 17,500 claimed, the NBA said. The league was approaching sellouts for Saturday and Sunday as well; Wembanyama is expected to play for the Spurs on Sunday against Portland.

Wembanyama — the 7-foot-3 French teen whose debut has been hotly awaited — made headlines Thursday when Britney Spears filed a police report saying a saying a Spurs security struck her. Despite the incident, Wembanyama seemed excited when told that Friday night's game was a sellout.

Games continue in Las Vegas through July 17. Summer League contests are slightly shorter than regular season games; quarters are 10 minutes each instead of the customary 12.


Brandon Williams scored 24 points, Josh Minott added 20 and Leonard Miller posted a double-double in Minnesota’s victory over New Orleans.

Miller finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Wendell Moore Jr. totaled 15 points and six assists for the Timberwolves (1-0).

Dyson Daniels led New Orleans (0-1) with 18 points. Jordan Hawkins, the 14th overall pick in this year’s draft, scored 16. Dereon Seabron and Landers Nolley added 10 points apiece. Seabron had a team-high eight rebounds.


Nate Darling scored 15 points to pace Chicago (1-0) in its victory over Toronto. Javon Freeman-Liberty pitched in with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Dalen Terry and Henri Drell added 10 points apiece. Terry added six boards, four assists and three steals.

Gradey Dick, the 13th overall pick, finished with 10 points, four rebounds and three steals for Toronto (0-1). Markquis Nowell led the Raptors with 17 points and five assists. Moses Brown tallied 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.


MarJon Beauchamp totaled 23 points and eight rebounds to lead Milwaukee over Denver.

Nico Mannion added 16 points and Jazian Gortman scored 13 on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks (1-0).

Peyton Watson had 23 points before fouling out for the Nuggets (0-1). Hunter Tyson added 21 points. First-round pick Julian Strawther scored 15.


Sharife Cooper scored 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting to lead Cleveland (1-0) to a victory over Brooklyn (0-1).

Emoni Bates, a second-rounder and the Cavaliers’ only pick in this year’s draft, finished with 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Isaiah Mobley pitched in with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Sam Merrill totaled 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Armoni Brooks and Jalen Wilson both had 17 points for Brooklyn. First-round pick Noah Clowney scored four points on 1-of-9 shooting with five rebounds.


Jordan Ford scored 20 points to lead Sacramento (1-0) over Atlanta (0-1).

Sacramento’s two second-round picks this year saw action. Colby Jones started and scored 12, while Jalen Slawson had three points off the bench.

Brady Manek led the Hawks with 17 points. Kobe Bufkin, the 15th overall pick, had eight points. He made just 4 of 14 shots and missed all eight of his 3-point attempts. Mouhamed Gueye, a second-round pick, finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in a start at center. Second-rounder Seth Lundy scored three points.


Max Christie totaled 22 points and seven rebounds to propel Los Angeles (1-0) past Golden State (0-1).

Cole Swider sank five 3-pointers and scored 19 for the Lakers, who shot 43.8% from 3-point range (14 of 32). First-round pick Jalen Hood-Schifino totaled nine points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Second-rounder Maxwell Lewis scored seven off the bench with four boards.

Gui Santos scored 25 to lead five Golden State players in double figures. Reggie Perry added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Brandin Podziemski, the 19th overall pick, had nine points and 11 rebounds.


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