The Wemby Stopper: Knicks middle slows down Spurs’ star rookie

Mitchell Robinson had a sense.

Coming into Wednesday evening’s sport in opposition to the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Sq. Backyard, the Knicks large man mentioned he had a plan for learn how to defend his 7’3” counterpart — rookie Victor Wembanyama.

“I’ll attempt to play him identical to he is a type of like Kristaps Porzingis sort of gamers,” he mentioned pregame. “I sort of bought a really feel for the way it ought to go.”

From Robinson‘s perspective, it went simply positive. New York began the sport on a 13-0 run and led by as many as 30 factors on its option to a 126-105 win on the Backyard. Wembanyama was barely an element, scoring 14 factors on 14 photographs and failing to make a shot with Robinson defending him.

Wemby below lock and key

Since he entered the NBA in 2018, Robinson has garnered a status as a shutdown defender when the league is friendlier to offenses than it has been in many years. Robinson has posted a defensive ranking decrease than 110 in 4 of his 5 earlier NBA seasons — which means the Knicks, on common, permit fewer than 110 factors per 100 possessions with the 25-year-old on the ground.

On Wednesday, Robinson bolstered that status in opposition to a young person the likes of which the NBA has infrequently seen. Wembanyama didn’t make a shot within the first half and made solely 4 area targets on the evening, The Spurs have been outscored by 25 when he was on the court docket. In the meantime, Robinson had a game-high 5 offensive rebounds and made three of his 4 field-goal makes an attempt.

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Robinson needed to run

After the 21-point victory, Robinson wasn’t actually keen to stay round and reveal how he was in a position to make life so troublesome for Wembanyama. To drive dwelling the purpose, he held up a timer on his mobile phone for reporters to see.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau informed the media that the tandem of seven-footers Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein has been “fantastic” and key for the Knicks to say their id. At 4-4, New York has some work to do to climb up the Japanese Convention standings — however a top-flight protection, just like the one which confirmed out when Wemby got here to city, will make the Knicks a troublesome out each evening.

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