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Recap: Westbrook breaks NBA triple-double record, Wizards fall to Hawks 125-124
FINAL: Wizards 124 | Hawks 125
Wizards: Russell Westbrook (28), Rui Hachimura (20), Robin Lopez (18)
Hawks: Trae Young (36), John Collins (28), Bogdan Bogdanovic (25)
On the night when Russell Westbrook became the NBA’s all-time triple-double leader, a Wizards’ comeback against the Hawks came up just short. Washington fell 125-124 in Atlanta on Monday night, despite 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists from Westbrook and 59 points from the Wizards’ bench. Trae Young led the way for Atlanta with 36 points, six rebounds and nine assists.
As has been the case for last few games, both offenses got rolling early. In the first quarter, Washington and Atlanta combined to shoot 28-49 (.571) from the field and 5-8 (.625) from 3-point range. The Wizards backcourt of Westbrook and Raul Neto combined for 18 of the team’s 32 first quarter points, but Washington trailed by two heading into the second. After trailing by six early in the second quarter, the Wizards took their first lead of the game on a Rui Hachimura dunk with 7:44 left in the first half. Hachimura led the team with 12 points in the second quarter, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk and 3-pointer within a minute to put Washington up 58-53 with 2:51 left in the second quarter. Westbrook assisted the alley-oop, one of his nine first half assists.
The Wizards’ offense cooled off in the third quarter, shooting just 8-25 (.320) from the field and 1-7 (.143) from beyond the arc – and the team didn’t get to the line once. Down by 19 points early in the fourth quarter, Washington made its move. A Westbrook bank shot with 10:59 left in the game sparked a 19-1 run that took less than four minutes to cut the Atlanta advantage to one. The Hawks countered, going back up by nine points, but 3-pointers from Davis Bertans on three consecutive possessions – and another one minute later by Westbrook – cut the lead to one again. Washington never managed to overtake the lead in the game’s final minutes as both teams traded baskets – and a missed Westbrook 3-pointer in the closing seconds sealed the win for Atlanta.
With three games left in the regular season, the Wizards are now a half game back of the Pacers for the nine-seed and two and a half games up on the Bulls for the final spot in the Play-In Tournament.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Westbrook’s historic night
Westbrook’s rise to the triple-double record accelerated drastically over the last month and a half, putting him in place to break a record that most of the NBA community thought would never be broken. With Monday’s 28-point, 13-rebound and 21-assist performance, he’s now recorded triple-doubles in five straight games and 22 of his last 26.
“It’s just a blessing,” Westbrook said postgame. “You put so much into the game. You put so much time, you sacrifice so much to put into the game. To be able to just be mentioned with guys like Oscar (Robertson) and Magic (Johnson) and Jason Kidd and those guys – it’s something that I never would have dreamt about as a young kid growing up in L.A. I’m extremely grateful for moments like this.”
Westbrook has also registered 15-plus assists in five consecutive games, including two with 20-plus. On his second assist of the night, setting up a Garrison Mathews corner three, Westbrook became the fourth player in league history with at least 20,000 points and 8,000 assists in their career, joining LeBron James, Oscar Robertson and Gary Payton, per NBA Stats.
Westbrook’s performance was a continuation of what has been his best basketball in a Wizards uniform. Earlier in the day, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for his play in the Wizards’ four games between May 3-9. In that time, he averaged 22.3 points, 18.3 assists and 17.3 rebounds per game, tallied four triple-doubles and helped lead Washington to a 3-1 record.
Bench steps up with Beal out
The Wizards took on the Hawks without Bradley Beal, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, who suffered a left hamstring strain in the team’s win over the Pacers on Saturday night. The team announced earlier in the day that Beal would also miss Wednesday’s game against the Hawks and would be re-evaluated on Friday. With Beal out, Washington needed more scoring out of some of its secondary contributors. Bertans, Ish Smith and Robin Lopez stepped up, combining for 49 points off the bench. Bertans shot 4-5 (.800) from 3-point in the fourth quarter alone, leading the Wizards’ late comeback.
Young leads three Hawks with 25-plus points
While the Wizards leaned on their bench, the Hawks were led by a trio of explosive starting performances. Trae Young scored a game-high 36 points on 11-22 (.500) from the field and hit all 13 of his free throw attempts. While Young struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 1-7 (.142), Bogdan Bogdanovic had no trouble getting in rhythm, hitting 7-12 (.583) from deep on his way to a 25-point night. In the frontcourt, John Collins scored 28 points on 10-14 (.714) shooting.
NEXT UP: Wizards at Hawks / Wednesday, May 12 / 7:00 P.M. / State Farm Arena
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT