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Wizards star Russell Westbrook makes preseason debut alongside Bradley Beal vs. Pistons

Wizards, Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook made his preseason debut with the Washington Wizards on Saturday against the Detroit Pistons.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks made the announcement a few hours before tip-off, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. Brooks added that Russ will likely only play the first half.

Bradley Beal is in the lineup on Saturday, too, giving the basketball world a first look at the revamped Wizards backcourt in their final preseason game. Forward Davis Bertans seemed set to play as well, though he did not start.

Earlier on Saturday, the Wizards announced that second-year forward Rui Hachimura has been ruled out for Saturday’s game due to pink eye, per The Athletic’s Fred Katz.

Russell Westbrook, at least for a half, will face off against Pistons rookie point guard Killian Hayes. The crafty lefty from France was the no. 7 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

The Wizards are currently 0-2 in the preseason, including a 97-86 loss to the Pistons on Thursday. Brooks would probably like to build some positive momentum and get a look of his team ahead of the season opener.

Westbrook started alongside Beal, first round pick Deni Avdija, Thomas Bryant and Anthony Gill on Saturday.

Washington opens their 2020-21 regular season on Wednesday with a matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Capital City team acquired Westbrook from the Houston Rockets on Dec. 2 in exchange for All-Star guard John Wall. The 12-year veteran guard averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.o assists per game on 47.2/25.8/76.3 percent shooting splits last season for Houston.

For what it’s worth, Brooks coached the 2017 MVP for seven seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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