Russell Westbrook pulled off another triple-double against the Hawks today with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists. The performance, which came in a narrow 125-124 loss, punctuated what has been a revival year for the mercurial point guard.
The UCLA product is officially the NBA’s all-time leader with 182 triple-doubles, beating Oscar Robertson’s long-standing record of 181.
It’s been once heck of a second half of the season for the Wizards too, since Westbrook and Bradley Beal have also been dominant on the court when they’ve played together. The backcourt tandem have managed to pull the Wizards from the bottom of the league into a shot at the play-ins.
Let’s not forget that while Brodie has been getting his stats, the Wizards have also gone on a rampage over the last 20 games. They’ve gone 15-5, and a bunch of those losses, including today’s, came while Beal has been out due to injury.
It’s unfortunate that Beal is out with a hamstring strain in a crucial stretch for the Wizards, but they definitely want to keep him healthy for the play-ins. Hamstring injuries are problematic – just ask James Harden.
Washington shouldn’t be in much danger of falling out of the play-ins anymore, so the focus now will be on the health of Beal. If he comes back all right, then the Wizards will be the team that no one wants to face in the play-ins.
Westbrook is and always will be a polarizing player, but you can’t deny that he enters every game with the desire to win. He also seems to have found a star teammate in Beal that complements his style of play instead of causing friction. As of now, I’ve decided to just watch and appreciate the contributions of a once-in-a-lifetime kind of player.