Sochan, Vassell lead Spurs past Suns 104-102 as injured Wembanyama watches from sidelines


SAN ANTONIO — Jeremy Sochan hit a key 3-pointer in the final minute and finished with 26 points and a career-high 18 rebounds as San Antonio beat the Phoenix Suns 104-102 on Monday night with Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama sidelined due to injury.

Devin Vassell added 26 points for San Antonio and celebrated the victory by yelling into the house microphone after the game: “That’s a big win. That’s a big win.”

Devin Booker scored 36 points and Kevin Durant added 29 as Phoenix split a two-game set in San Antonio.

The Suns outscored the Spurs 14-7 in the final five minutes, but Sochan’s 3-pointer with 29 seconds was the difference. Booker and Durant missed potential game-winning 3-pointers in the final seconds.

Wembanyama sat out with a sprained left ankle. He was injured in Saturday’s loss to Phoenix.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said the injury was not severe and that it was “a little better than 50-50” that Wembanyama would play Wednesday at Utah.

The loss could prove critical for Phoenix, which next plays 10 consecutive playoff-bound teams, starting Wednesday in Denver.

The Suns (42-30) are seventh in the Western Conference, a half-game behind Sacramento (41-29) in the race for the final spot to avoid the play-in tournament.

After trailing by 32 points in losing 131-106 on Saturday, San Antonio was much better in the rematch — just as Phoenix coach Frank Vogel expected.

“I expect a different energy,” Vogel said after Saturday’s victory. “… Expect them to have a lot more fight on Monday night and a tougher battle.”

The Suns needed Durant and Booker in the final quarter after both sat out the fourth in Saturday’s victory, with the Spurs trailing by 25 points in the fourth.

San Antonio went on a 16-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters, turning a nine-point deficit in the third into an 83-74 lead two minutes into the fourth.

All five starters scored as the Spurs raced to a 13-6 lead in the opening five minutes and closed the first with a 29-22 advantage.

Durant did not attempt a shot during his nine minutes in the opening quarter. He went 4 for 5 and keyed a 9-2 run in the second that tied the game at 39. Phoenix outscored San Antonio 28-18 in the second quarter while shooting 60% from the field.

San Antonio closed its season-high eight-game homestand with two victories, including one in Austin as part of the franchise’s regional outreach.

The Spurs (16-56) must finish at least 4-6 to avoid setting a franchise record for worst record, which is 20-62 set in 1997.

UP NEXT

Suns: At Denver on Wednesday.

Spurs: At Utah on Wednesday.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA



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