Russell Westbrook Records Historic Triple-Double as Wizards Edged by Hawks

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2021

Washington Wizards' Russell Westbrook, right, is congratulated by Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young after an NBA basketball game Monday, May 10, 2021, in Atlanta. Westbrook recorded his 182nd career triple-double, passing Oscar Robertson for the most in NBA history. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

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.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

1️⃣8️⃣2️⃣ TRIPLE-DOUBLES Russell Westbrook has officially passed Oscar Robertson for the all-time NBA triple-double record WHY NOT? https://t.co/RdfVBXLzJf

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport



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.

NBA.com/Stats @nbastats

With his 2nd assist tonight, Russell Westbrook joined LeBron James, Oscar Robertson and Gary Payton as the only players in NBA history with 20,000+ points and 8,000+ assists. https://t.co/XF9W6jwhEH


One of one. https://t.co/Yh6VLX6QJC

Jordan @Jumpman23

This family is 1 of 1. Give Brodie his 🌹🌹🌹. Congratulations to our very own @russwest44 on becoming the all-time leader in triple-doubles. #JUMPMAN https://t.co/W1SBFmclAl

Washington Wizards @WashWizards

47 years later, Russell Westbrook has done the impossible. WHY NOT, @russwest44? https://t.co/AbKNiGwRc8


Congrats to @russwest44 of the @WashWizards for setting the ALL-TIME RECORD for TRIPLE-DOUBLES! https://t.co/pTuaUaEr1i

CBS Sports @CBSSports

when you mess around and get a triple-double for the 182nd time https://t.co/CdF98UzdI2

OKC THUNDER @okcthunder

From your first triple-double in 2009 to the most ever, congratulations Russ! #Hist0ry https://t.co/5bMuIiytHj

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.

Atlanta Hawks @ATLHawks

A thing of beauty. https://t.co/jYNGVxI3kV

Atlanta Hawks @ATLHawks

Go ahead big fella 😤 https://t.co/6ubdFn0ks9

Atlanta Hawks @ATLHawks

Anotha one. https://t.co/VUS9a6Jecb

Bally Sports: Hawks @HawksOnBally

𝚃𝚛𝚒𝚌𝚔𝚢 𝚃𝚛𝚊𝚎 https://t.co/kEVbiSf85G

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.


What's Next?

These two teams play again Wednesday in Atlanta.