D’Angelo Russell’s bizarre shot at Zion Williamson

NBA Analytics Network

The New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves played a great back and forth game during the NBA Wednesday slate, resulting in a 119-118 victory for the Pelicans.

It was a competitive game all along as the biggest lead in the game was 11 by the Timberwolves and just four by the Pelicans. The final 2:17 of the game was played with a two-point margin as the game went down to the wire.

With 41 seconds left to play, the Pelicans took a two-point lead after Zion Williamson stole the ball and charged down the field for a dunk. It was a play that D’Angelo Russell was very critical of in his post-game press conference, citing Williamson’s physical style of play.

“He ran through my husband and grabbed the ball. He plays football, we play basketball. We can’t touch or guard him. So good for him.”

Williamson is an imposing presence on the basketball court. Despite being only 6’6″, he is one of the heaviest players in the league at 284 pounds. He puts that size advantage to good use on the court and creates advantages for himself and his teammates.

LATEST NBA NEWS: D’Angelo Russell, Zion Williamson, Minnesota Timberwolves & New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Referees also tend to change the way they call the game as it gets deeper into things. Sometimes they swallow the whistle and let the players decide the outcome, while at other times they tighten things up and blow the whistle more often.

Wednesday was the first, and Russell wasn’t too happy about it. His comments are a bizarre shot at Williamson, but also show obvious frustration with what the umpires called the game, as he felt the Pelicans All-Star could get more physical with his teammates than the other way around.

Russell could have a legitimate complaint when it comes to the way the game was run. Minnesota attempted 32 free throws in the game, 24 of them. New Orleans attempted 43 free throws, 30 of which, since the foul line is essentially where the game was decided.

LATEST NBA NEWS: D’Angelo Russell, Zion Williamson, Minnesota Timberwolves & New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Unsurprisingly, Williamson wore a pad to the charity stripe all evening. He attempted 19 free throws alone, 14 of them, on his way to a 43-point performance. When players attack the basket relentlessly, they are sometimes rewarded with foul calls, as Williamson did on Wednesday night.

Russell was clearly frustrated after the game, but that may also be due to his team’s recent problems. Minnesota has now lost four consecutive games and seven of their last 10 as they adjust to life without Karl-Anthony Towns, who has been sidelined since November 30.

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