Next stop, NBA.
Victor Wembanyama posted his best game of the LNB Finals on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough. Monaco rallied after trailing most of the game to secure a 92-85 Game 3 win over Wembanyama’s Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92. The Monaco win secured a sweep in the championship series at the highest level of France basketball and put an end to Wembanyama’s French professional career.
Wembanyama’s next basketball step will be at the June 22 NBA draft, where he’s expected be the No. 1 pick by the San Antonio spurs.
Metropolitans 92 got off to a strong start on Thursday and opened scoring with a Wembanyama alley-oop to take a 2-0 lead.
They were hot from the field early and ended the first quarter with a 32-23 advantage. They led 53-44 at halftime and maintained their lead until late in the fourth quarter.
Wembanyama took advantage of his 7-4 frame on both ends of the court throughout the game, recording multiple dunks in traffic while blocking four Monaco shots.
After posting 27 total points in Games 1 and 2 combined, Wembanyama finished Game 3 with a team-high 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks in addition to 2 assists. He shot 6 of 11 from the field including a 1-of-4 effort from 3-point range. It was a well-rounded effort showcasing the talent, size and athleticism that’s made him the most coveted basketball prospect since LeBron James.
But like in Games 1 and 2, it wasn’t enough to secure victory. After trailing the entire game, Monaco took its first lead late in the fourth after a Wembanyama foul put former Phoenix Sun Elie Okobo on the free-throw line for an and-1 opportunity.
Okobo’s ensuing free throw with 3:31 remaining gave Monaco its first lead at 82-81. The teams traded buckets and the lead over the next few possessions before former Furman guard Jordan Loyd closed it out for Monaco.
With the game tied at 85, Loyd pulled up for a 3 at the top of the key. It sank through the net with 50.6 seconds remaining. After Metropolitans 92 failed to counter on offense, Loyd did it again. His 28-footer with 24.9 seconds left put the game out of reach.
With the bucket, Loyd matched Wembanyama’s scoring tally with 22 points as he hit his 5th 3-pointer in 7 attempts. Wembanyama’s desperation heave on the other end missed the mark, and his French career came to an end as Monaco celebrated a championship.
When the game was over, Wembanyama returned the applause from an appreciative French crowd and signaled a heart with his hands. The next time he steps on a basketball court, he’ll almost certainly do so as a Spur.