Russell Westbrook carries Wizards over Pacers as Deni Avdija hits timely shots

Mar 30, 2021 | Deni Avdija

There is no coincidence that Russell Westbrook has played better for the Wizards of late relative to the beginning of the season when he was hampered by a nagging quad injury since training camp. With Bradley Beal held out with a hip contusion from a hard fall on Saturday vs. Detroit, the former league MVP put the Wizards on his back with a 35 point, 21 assist, and 14 rebound performance. In the 132-124 Washington victory over Indiana that saw 22 lead changes and 20 ties, Deni Avdija had 12 points and eight rebounds in his second straight start.

In just 38 games played for the Wizards, Russell Westbrook has already set a new franchise record for triple-doubles with 16. That says more about Washington as a franchise, but Westbrook could not have put up a more eye-popping stat line in the record-breaking performance as he accounted for 88 of the team’s 132 points on the night once including assists. Westbrook scored nearly half of his points in the fourth quarter alone with 17 points on an efficient 7-for-10 shooting in the final frame. Washington received strong supporting roles from Rui Hachimura, Chandler Hutchison in his debut, and Raul Neto combining for 59 points.

“One thing that I always love and cherish about this game is that you get to go out and compete,” Russell Westbrook put simply. “That’s one thing I always pride myself on is making sure I leave it all on the floor every single night and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be able to do that and I don’t take it for granted. Along those lines, different records and different things may happen, but one thing I always do is stay humble, stay true to myself, and always continue to give everything I have.”

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

Deni Avdija is back in the Wizards’ starting lineup for the time being as Scott Brooks was looking for a change that could jumpstart both the rookie who had been in a bit of a slump as well as the team that had lost eight of their then previous nine matchups post-All Star break. After just five points in a start vs. the Pistons, Avdija had a better performance vs. the Pacers including his best three-point shooting performance in over a month, knocking down two of three attempts. With Washington trailing by six with less than six minutes to play, Avdija knocked down a key three-pointer from the right slot to start an 11-0 run for the home team to take the lead for good. For good measure with the shot clock winding down, Avdija maintained his pivot foot for a jumper that was nothing but net to seal the win.

“Deni’s shot when we were down six, that was a big bucket. We needed that to keep hope alive,” Scott Brooks mentioned after the game.

The Wizards short three-game homestand wraps up with the second night of a back-to-back on Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets who will be without Rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball. Washington may be without both Bradley Beal (hip) and Daniel Gafford who left the Pacers game with a bad right ankle sprain.

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