The Washington Wizards faced off in their final preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. This time D.C. played with their newly acquired point guard Russell Westbrook.
The former MVP was traded earlier this year from the Houston Rockets after requesting a trade. Westbrook has now joined Bradley Beal on the Wizards, ushering in a post-John Wall era for the team.
After missing the first three games of the preseason, Russell finally joined the roster and played some intriguing minutes alongside the Beal. Westbrook played only 17 minutes but managed to grab 7 rebounds, put up 5 assists and score 8 points on 4 of 10 shooting.
Beal did not have a fellow star next to him last season after John Wall’s injury in 2018. Despite the lack of help, the All-Star shooting guard put up career numbers, ranking second in the NBA in scoring. Now, Beal has helped and he made a note of that in his postgame interview Saturday night.
"They still doubled me," Said Beal, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. "But 100 percent you notice the differences. Guys are getting more open shots... We're going to get a lot of open shots because of the space and his attack mode and his attack mentality. Defenses have to respect it. He's going to get two feet in the paint and the rest of us have to do our jobs, get open and knock them down."
Unfortunately, Bradley Beal did not personally take as much advantage of the opened up spacing Russell provided last night, making none of his 7 attempts from behind the arc. Westbrook’s presence did allow Beal to showcase his passing, logging 5 assists in his 27 minutes of play.
The main beneficiary of what Beal described was Thomas Bryant, the third-year center made good on 3 of his 6 attempts from deep. The Wizards, however, couldn’t pull stay ahead of the Pistons the whole game, slipping in the fourth quarter. D.C. eventually was able to cling on to their momentum and won the game 99-96.