Russell Westbrook Records Historic Triple-Double as Wizards Edged by HawksMay 11, 2021
History but no buzzer-beater.
Russell Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson's record for the most triple-doubles in a career with his 182nd but was unable to hit the game-winning shot in Monday's 125-124 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. He was still brilliant in Bradley Beal's absence (hamstring), but the Wizards fell to 32-37 and saw their two-game winning streak end.
On the other side, the Hawks appear to be hitting their stride as the playoffs approach.
Trae Young, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela led the way for the victors, who improved to 38-31 overall and 4-1 in their last five games.
Notable Player Stats
- Trae Young, G, ATL: 36 PTS, 9 AST, 6 REB
- John Collins, F, ATL: 28 PTS, 8 REB, 2 BLK
- Clint Capela, C, ATL: 10 PTS, 22 REB, 4 BLK
- Bogdan Bogdanovic, G, ATL: 25 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 7-of-12 3PT
- Russell Westbrook, G, WAS: 28 PTS, 21 AST, 13 REB
- Rui Hachimura, F, WAS: 20 PTS, 3 REB
History Not Enough for Wizards
Westbrook took the court with history in front of him, but he has done far more than just post impressive stats in vain this season.
Washington fell to an ugly 17-32 with an April 5 loss to the Toronto Raptors but entered Monday's game with a 15-4 record in their last 19 games. Westbrook tallied a triple-double in 16 of those 19 contests and, alongside Beal, has given his team breathing room in the race for the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
He wasted no time working his way toward the record with nine assists in the first half as the visitors jumped out to an early lead. From there, it seemed like just a matter of time until he passed Robertson.
The head-turning passing continued throughout the game, as he set up Rui Hachimura for multiple dunks and Davis Bertans from three-point range. The amount of attention Westbrook drew also helped open up lanes for others, and six Wizards finished in double figures.
Ish Smith and Raul Neto provided a spark to help make up for the loss of Beal, while Robin Lopez found his scoring touch on the inside.
Yet all it took was one ugly third quarter, as Washington's offense went cold for extended stretches without Beal and managed just 17 points. It seemed as if the only remaining drama was whether Westbrook would get his triple-double after the Hawks pushed the lead to 17 heading into the fourth, but the record chase appeared to energize the entire team.
The Wizards came storming back with the future Hall of Famer leading the charge with his scoring and assists and even created an opportunity for him to win it at the buzzer. While it would have been a fitting end to the historic evening, his final shot drew iron and ended the comeback hopes.
4-Man Attack Enough for Hawks to Outlast Westbrook, Wizards
While much of the attention coming into Wednesday's game was on Westbrook's pursuit of history, the actual outcome was more important for the Hawks.
After all, the Wizards are essentially locked into the play-in tournament, while Atlanta entered play one game behind the fourth-seeded New York Knicks but two games ahead of the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics. That meant everything from home-court advantage in the first round to the play-in tournament was still at stake for the home team.
The key players came out with the expected sense of urgency.
Young was largely brilliant, darting in and out of the defense, unleashing floaters and hitting a key three-pointer during the Hawks' third-quarter run even though he struggled from beyond the arc the rest of the game.
He also helped set up Collins for looks inside the paint and drew defenders in to open up Bogdanovic from deep. Throw in Capela dominating the boards and protecting the rim, and Atlanta's marquee playmakers were dialed in with postseason-like intensity.
The Hawks may have taken their foot off the gas some in the fourth quarter after seizing momentum in the third, but the four-man effort was enough to outlast Washington by a single point.
Nobody else on the team finished in double figures, but it will still be difficult to beat the Hawks when Young, Collins, Capela and Bogdanovic are all playing well.
These two teams play again Wednesday in Atlanta.