Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II returned to action on Friday night, after missing a few games with a foot injury.
That gave him a chance to deliver a moment on the defensive end that the guard will likely never forget.
Payton, who has been a standout on the defensive end for the Warriors so far this season, was back in action Friday night against the visiting San Antonio Spurs, and rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama. Early in the second quarter, with the Spurs leading 46-41, Wembanyama tried to deliver a true “showtime” moment, going behind the back along with a Euro step, to try and get to the rim.
Payton, however, was having none of it:
The guard chased down the play from behind, swatting Wembanyama’s attempt into the stands. The crowd at the Chase Center exploded at the play, with many wagging their finger at the San Antonio rookie.
After the game, Payton commented on joining a very rare club: The players who have blocked Wembanyama. “I’m probably the smallest,” Payton said. “It’s just energy and effort.”
For those wondering, Wembanyama is listed at 7’4, while Payton is listed at 6’2.
Wembanyama still got his buckets, as the Spurs rookie had 22 points along with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. As for Payton, he had 4 points, a steal, and a block to remember.
Golden State defeated the Spurs 118-112 behind 35 points from Steph Curry, who was 7-for-14 from behind the arc. The win kept the Warriors alive in Group C of the in-season tournament.