Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, Wizards Beat Rockets in John Wall's DC Return

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IFebruary 16, 2021

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts after he scored and was fouled during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Russell Westbrook got a second chance at revenge on the Houston Rockets, and he took it and ran with it.

The former MVP, who requested a trade out of Houston and was subsequently sent to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall, recorded a triple-double to help the 8-17 Wizards defeat Wall and the Houston Rockets, 131-119, on Monday at Capital One Arena after they were upended by the team earlier this season.

As for Wall, he dropped 29 points to lead the 11-16 Rockets.


Notable Performers

  • Bradley Beal, Wizards: 37 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST
  • Russell Westbrook, Wizards: 16 PTS, 15 AST, 13 REB
  • John Wall, Rockets: 29 PTS, 11 AST
  • David Nwaba, Rockets: 19 PTS, 11 REB


Rockets' Struggles from Deep Snub Wall's Return

This game was perfectly timed with a tell-all interview Wall did with Fred Katz of The Athletic where the 10-year Wizard broke down his issues with the franchise's decision to trade him for Westbrook this offseason.

"I said all I ever wanted from the start was honesty," he said Saturday. "You know what I mean? Just tell me the truth, what it was. I can deal with it. I felt like I deserved the honesty and respect because I've been there for 10 years. I've been through the bad times, when we had s--tty teams and when we had good teams in D.C."

Bad blood aside, the matchup also timed perfectly with a hot streak for the five-time All-Star, who has scored at least 25 points in four of his last five outings while the team manages without leading scorer Christian Wood.

On Monday, Wall got off to a fast start, leading all scorers at the break with 22 points, his highest-scoring opening half of the season.

Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets

That one had to feel good 💪 https://t.co/Ia9jenp3VA

Fred Katz @FredKatz

John Wall has 11 points and two assists seven minutes into his return to DC.

But his teammates couldn't rally behind him to outpace Washington at the half, with the Wizards holding a 72-69 lead. For all of his individual success, he missed all three of his attempts from deep in the first half, reflecting a major trend amid the Rockets' six-game losing streak.

Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen

Wizards 72, Rockets 69 at half. Wall with 22 points, seven assists. Rockets still not shooting 3s well enough not to get stops. Wizards shooting 58.1 %, 46.7 % on 3s. Rockets 5 of 20 on 3s.

The second half didn't get much better for Houston.

Jonathan Feigen @Jonathan_Feigen

Rockets 0 for 6 to start the second half. Just not getting enough easy buckets -- none on a break -- to also be unable to hit a jumper. Dangerous time here with Beal maybe heating up.

Wall ended the night with 29 points, and every other Rockets starter recorded double digits. But they hit just 21.6 percent from three, compared to 40.0 percent for the Wizards.

With a new team, Wall has a new goal. He told Katz he wants to beat Washington every time he plays them—but after Monday, he's 1-1.


Forget John Wall, Bradley Beal Has Russell Westbrook

While Wall has been a force as of late, Beal is the league's leading scorer, entering Monday with an average of 32.9 points per game—fresh off a 104-91 victory over the Boston Celtics that saw him dump 35 points in the rescheduled game.

Beal had tallied at least 30 in 12 of his last 15 games going into Monday's matchup.

On Monday, he and Westbrook broke out to lead the Wizards to the win.

Beal erupted for 19 points in the first half, second to just Wall among all scorers, and three other Washington scorers registered double digits by the break to help the group take a three-point lead over the Rockets.

Washington Wizards @WashWizards

That's tuuuuuuuuuuuff, @RealDealBeal23 #NBAAllStar https://t.co/nAmzWhJkBj

Washington Wizards @WashWizards

All-Star starter. #NBAAllStar | @RealDealBeal23 https://t.co/6QPIUeItwJ

Davis Bertans tallied 13 points off the bench, and Westbrook and Robin Lopez tallied 10 points each in the opening half.

In the second half, the Wizards took advantage of a slow Rockets start as Beal continued to pace the team, and Westbrook emerged as the top playmaker in the matchup.

Washington Wizards @WashWizards

the pass from @russwest44 👀 the finish by @moritz_weasley 🇩🇪 https://t.co/MthD8s1fRL

Westbrook has been limited to 18 of the Rockets' 25 games this season, and before Monday he hadn't played in both parts of back-to-backs for the Wizards this season. But fresh off a double-double against the Celtics, he dominated his former team.

Such dominant play from both stars was what pushed the Wizards over the superstar Brooklyn Nets twice earlier this season, and now they've demonstrated that it can hold up on consecutive nights against some of the other major stars in the game.


What's Next?

Houston is headed to face the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The Wizards will host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.