Victor Wembanyama and LeBron James face off for first time as San Antonio Spurs snap worst-ever losing streak

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 15:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes to the basket during the game on December 15, 2023 at the Frost Bank Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photos by Tyler Ross/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James and Victor Wembanyama faced off against each other on Friday.Tyler Ross/NBAE/Getty ImagesCNN — 

When LeBron James and Victor Wembanyama took to the court on Friday, it marked a monumental meeting between two generational talents – one at the end of his career, the other at the beginning – as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 129-115, snapping their record losing streak.

The two NBA stars finally came face to face near the end of the second quarter, with James pinned in the corner by Wembanyama’s 8-foot wingspan. But facing the much-acclaimed Frenchman was no matter for the 38-year-old, who simply stepped back and sunk a 23-foot three-pointer from behind the arc.

“Just trying to get his hands down a little bit because I know his wingspan,” James said afterwards, according to the NBA. “I was trying to create a little more room and shoot a little higher.”

Although James won that brief matchup, it was Wembanyama and the Spurs who came out on top overall, sparking jubilation among the team as they celebrated snapping a franchise-record 18-game losing streak.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 15: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball during the game against the San Antonio Spurs on December 15, 2023 at the Frost Bank Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James dunks the ball during the game against the San Antonio Spurs.Michael Gonzales/NBAE/Getty Images

“Kind of felt like a playoff game to me,” Wembanyama said afterwards, according to ESPN. “But of course we have to feel good about it. We love that feeling. We want to repeat it, so yeah, we’re going to keep working our ass off.”

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The 19-year-old finished with his seventh consecutive double-double, equaling Dwight Howard’s NBA record for the most consecutive double-doubles for a teenager, as he contributed 13 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks.

Nov 2, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) drives to the basket against Phoenix Suns forward Josh Okogie (2) in the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

‘He’s going to create his own lane’: Victor Wembanyama drops 38 points in Spurs win over the Phoenix Suns

The Spurs had started brightly, racing to a 25-point lead in the second quarter, but they initially could not pull away as the Lakers trimmed their advantage to four toward the end of the half.

With confidence low after a winning drought that stretched back to November 2, it seemed as if the Spurs were letting yet another lead slip away. However, they rallied in the fourth to put the game beyond the Lakers’ reach.

Devin Vassell led the way for the Spurs with a career-high 36 points while James contributed 23 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds for the Lakers.

“A hundred percent it didn’t feel https://popicedingin.com like a normal win,” Vassell told reporters afterward, per ESPN. “You see people jumping around on the sideline and everything … I’m trying to stay composed. But at the end of the day it’s special. This is a special group.”

The Spurs, now 4-20 on the season, next face the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. The Lakers (15-11) face the New York Knicks on Monday.

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