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‘Wemby’ upset in NBA Rising Stars

VICTOR Wembanyama of Team Pau shoots over Oscar Tshiebwe of Team Detlef during the Rising Stars game that is part of the NBA All-Star Weekend. Team Detlef prevailed, 41-36. | JOE MURPHY/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Victor Wembanyama’s hopes of victory in the National Basketball Association All-Star week’s “Rising Stars” tournament came to an abrupt end on Friday as his team suffered an upset 41-36 defeat in the semifinals.

San Antonio Spurs rookie Wembanyama spearheaded a strong-looking line-up coached by Spanish legend Pau Gasol that many tipped to cruise into Friday’s final.

But their opponents — coached by Germany’s three-time NBA All-Star Detlef Schrempf and drawn from the NBA’s G-League development league — tore up the script with a deserved win in the first-to-40 semi-final.

Mac McClung led the scoring with 12 points for the underdogs while Alondes Williams finished with 11 points.

France’s Wembanyama, meanwhile, caught the eye with 11 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal, but it was not enough to carry “Team Pau” to victory.

“Wemby,” the No.1 pick in last year’s draft who has been billed as a once-in-a-generation talent comparable to LeBron James, was part of a strong line-up that also included in-form Golden State player Brandin Podziemski and No. 2 draft pick Brandon Miller of the Charlotte Hornets.

However, Schrempf’s lineup was soon in control, opening up a 10-point lead at 23-13 before closing out the win.

The underdogs found the going harder in the final, however, being beaten 26-13 by a team coached by Jalen Rose in the final.

The Rising Stars tournament is the highlight of the opening day of All-Star weekend, followed by the skills competition on Saturday and Sunday’s NBA All-Star game.

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