We have witnessed a sharp increase in assists and potential assists for Russell Westbrook over the last 3 games. I never quite thought I’d see the day I bet on Russ this year, but I’m gonna buy into this streak.
Russ has actually played some solid basketball of late, and confidence appears to be growing. With that has come higher usage and increased efficiency (at least to his standards from earlier in the season). The Lakers are in desperation mode, sitting in the 9 seed of the Western Conference. Frank Vogel is pretty much giving his top guys all the minutes they can handle as they push to stay in the playoff hunt so we can anticipate Russell being out there for 35+ min.
Over the last 3 games, Westbrook has averaged 9.7 assists on 19.0 potential assists. His potential assists number is good for 3rd in the league in that span. They are 2-1 in these 3 games, so I anticipate they continue to allow him to continue this play style.
The Sixers season long stats are fairly strong vs assists allowed. With Harden, their defense has experienced a bit of regression though. They are allowing 23.8 assists in games Harden has played, which is slightly above their season average. The encouraging part to me is that the Sixers have played the Raptors, Mavs, and faced the Knicks two times. Those teams play at a snail pace and only averaged 19.5 assists in those 4 games. The Sixers have given up 26.4 assists in the other 7 games. I like that stat due to the Lakers playing at the 6th fastest pace in the league. I like Russ to keep this recent stretch rolling tonight.