Possessing a 17-29 record, the Washington Wizards sit 2.5 games back of the Chicago Bulls for the final play-in spot. The rough season leaves Russell Westbrook in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2015 and just the second time across his 13-season career.
Dropping a 114-104 decision to the Charlotte Hornets, the former MVP compiled another huge statline to finish with 22 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists. The performance came on the second night of a back-to-back, of which the first game saw him become the first player in NBA history to post 35 points and 20 assists in a single game.
Tonight was also the 47th time in his career that Russell Westbrook logged a triple-double within the first 3 quarters of a game. That's the most by any player in the last 25 seasons (next-closest players are Nikola Jokic & James Harden with 13). https://t.co/bDX4J7kuUn- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 30, 2021
In an era where pressure to win championships feels as great as ever, Westbrook sounded off on those who believe that winning a ring should be a defining legacy on his career and impact in the game.
"I use my platform to help people all across the world. Nobody can take that away from me," Westbrook told reporters including The Athletic's Fred Katz.
"I've been blessed to be able to have a platform to do it, and like I said before, a championship don't change my life. I'm happy. I was a champion once I made it to the NBA. I grew up in the streets. I'm a champion. I don't have to be an NBA champion."
Westbrook produced a contender for dunk of the year in the final minute of the game against Charlotte. Using a hesitation move to blow by Gordon Hayward on the perimeter, Westbrook rose up to throw down a thunderous jam on Bismack Biyombo. In vintage Russ fashion, Westbrook scowled as he walked to the free-throw line to complete the 3-point play.
Russell Westbrook 😤- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) March 31, 2021
📊 22 points | 15 rebounds | 14 assists | 2 steals@WashWizards | @russwest44 pic.twitter.com/Ni9XSX6tSk
Despite being in the unfamiliar position of playing on a struggling team, Westbrook's trademark intensity remains as visable as ever. A nine-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion, Westbrook's individual accolades stack up with the best of the last decade. At 32-year-old it remains to be seen if Russ will achieve championship glory, but if he doesn't, he's ok with that.
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