Sat, 19 Jun 2021

Russell Westbrook, Wizards continue play-in push vs. Hawks

Field Level Media
12 May 2021, 06:19 GMT+10

With individual history having been etched in the record book, the Washington Wizards can focus on authoring a new team chapter when they get a rematch with the host Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

Russell Westbrook grabbed the crown of the NBA's all-time triple-double king from Oscar Robertsonin Monday's 125-124 loss to the Hawks, recording 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists for the 182nd triple-double of his career.

Robertson's record had stood since March of 1974.

Westbrook's individual brilliance could not overcome the combined 89-point effort of the Hawks' Trae Young, John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic in an outcome that kept Atlanta (38-31) in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, while dropping the Wizards (32-37) a half-game behind Indiana in their battle for ninth.

Both teams found themselves scoreboard-watching on their day off Tuesday.

The two teams joining the Hawks in pursuit of the coveted No. 4 seed in the East -- New York and Miami -- both played on Tuesday night, with the Knicks visiting the Los Angeles Lakers and the Heat getting a rematch at Boston.

The Pacers also played Tuesday, hosting Philadelphia, while 11th-place Chicago, the team looking to unseat Indiana or Washington for a spot among the four clubs that will contest the first-ever play-in tournament in the East, entertained Brooklyn.

Wednesday's game will wrap up the Wizards' regular-season road schedule. They finish up at home against Cleveland on Friday and Charlotte on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Hawks will stay home to face Orlando on Thursday and Houston on Sunday.

Atlanta has won four of its last five, capped by its second straight win over the Wizards this season.

Young has been brilliant in both matchups with Washington, pouring in 41 points in a 116-100 road win in January before going for 36 in Wednesday's narrow escape.

He got a lot more help in the rematch, with Collins and Bogdanovic scoring 28 and 25, respectively, while Clint Capela snatched a game-high 22 rebounds.

Atlanta survived a 45-point Wizards barrage in the fourth quarter, holding on for a win after which coach Nate McMillan admitted, "We got lucky."

"Giving up 45 points, that's not us," McMillan insisted. "It can't be us."

Washington managed to make it a game despite missing Bradley Beal, who already has been ruled out of Wednesday's game as well with a strained left hamstring.

The Wizards hope to have him back later in the week, if he's needed in a playoff-clinching bid.

Beal likely will have to return before regular season's end if he's going to catch Stephen Curry for the NBA scoring lead. Curry currently holds a 31.9-31.4 advantage.

Washington coach Scott Brooks said his team is prepared to proceed without its leading scorer.

"I'd love to have Brad back as soon as he can, but if it's next week, it's next week," he said Monday. "We can do nothing about it. We can't put him out there in harm's way if he's not ready."

Veteran backup Ish Smith helped fill the Beal void with 16 points in Monday's loss.

--Field Level Media

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