Gary Payton II

Warriors' GP2 soars for epic chase-down block on Wembanyama

NBC Universal, Inc.

Gary Payton II's return after missing the last three games was a welcomed sight for the Warriors.

For Victor Wembanyama, the San Antonio Spurs rookie wishes he hadn't encountered Payton in an NBA In-Season Tournament game at Chase Center on Friday night.

Midway through the second quarter, Payton soared in for an epic chase-down block on Wembanyama, sending the ball deep into the crowd.

Warriors fans naturally loved Payton's remarkable rejection of the 7-foot-4 No. 1 overall draft pick.

Payton, who sustained a sprained left foot on Nov. 16 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, joined the NBC Sports Bay Area broadcast at halftime and was asked about how good the block on Wembanyama felt.

"More happy that my ankle feels better and I can jump and take off and stuff," Payton told Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike. "But the block's a plus. Get our team going, get our fellas going down there. And as you can see, next play, it leads to open buckets."

Payton's defensive ability was sorely missed by the Warriors over the last three games. In his first action in over a week, the 6-foot-2 guard didn't score in nine first-half minutes. But he had two rebounds, the one block and finished a plus-6 to help Golden State take a four-point lead into the locker room.

Not many NBA players nearly a foot shorter than Wembanyama are going to be able to block him, but Payton climbed the mountain and can forever say he swatted the generational talent.

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