Russell Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson’s 47-year-old NBA record for triple-doubles and missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer as the Washington Wizards lost 125-124 to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.
Westbrook completed his 182nd triple-double when he pulled down a rebound with 8:29 remaining, completing his season-long march toward a record that had stood since 1974 and was long considered untouchable. The nine-time All-Star and 2016-17 MVP finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists as he carried the load for a Wizards team missing Bradley Beal, the league’s No. 2 scorer.
“Honestly it never really bothered me one way or another," Westbrook said. “I’m very confident in the things I do for this game. I take a lot of pride in going out and preparing myself to be one of the most consistent guys in this league. It’s a tough thing to be able to do, and I want to give that comfort to my coaches, to my organization, so that when they call my number they know what they’re going to get."
Trae Young scored 36 points and John Collins added 28 for the Hawks, who moved within a half-game of the fourth-place New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference. Washington is 10th in the East, which would give the Wizards the final spot in the league’s new postseason play-in tournament.
Beal has a strained left hamstring and the Wizards said earlier Monday he would also miss the team’s next game, a rematch at Atlanta on Wednesday. He’ll be re-evaluated ahead of Friday’s game against Cleveland.
Washington called a timeout with 39.7 seconds remaining after Collins’ free throws put Atlanta up 125-122. Westbrook followed by hitting a runner and the Hawks called timeout with 18.2 seconds left.
Westbrook protested briefly that he was fouled on the play, but he got a clean look at a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. His shot bounced off the rim, and Westbrook pounded the ball hard against the floor when the game ended.
“We talk about Oscar Robertson and a lot of us are not old enough to know how the Big O played, but you’re seeing that in Westbrook," interim Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “His ability to really just dominate a game, score, assist and rebound from that guard position, this is what the Big O was doing a long time ago. To see it at this day and time is incredible."
Bogdan Bogdanovich finished with 25 points and Clint Capela had 22 rebounds for Atlanta, which has won four of five.
Young buried a 27-foot 3 to push the lead to 17 points near the end of the third, but after the Hawks went up by a game-high 19 early in the fourth, the Wizards trimmed the lead to one midway through the period.
The Wizards led 62-60 at halftime. Washington dropped to 25-5 when leading at intermission.
Washington center Robin Lopez felt blessed to play alongside Westbrook on the record-breaking night.
“He’s been relentless," Lopez said. “He’s been locked in and that’s something that anyone on the roster will tell you. It’s trickled down to everybody. It’s certainly a boon to have him on the floor with us."
Wizards: Westbrook got his 8,000th career assist in early in the first. … Westbrook has 33 straight double-doubles dating back to March 1. He has 56 double-doubles overall. … Garrison Mathews started in place of Beal, finishing with three points in 14 minutes.
Hawks: F De’Andre Hunter played for the first time since March 24, snapping a streak of 24 straight missed games with right knee soreness. He entered to an ovation late in the first and finished with six points in 14 minutes. … The Hawks were playing their first game since last Thursday.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said Beal, who traveled to Atlanta with the team, is doing rehab and getting treatments on his left leg.
“I’d love to have Brad back as soon as he can, but if it’s next week, it’s next week,” Brooks said. “We can do nothing about it. We can’t put him out there in harm’s way if he’s not ready.”
Beal was was injured in Saturday’s overtime victory at Indiana. He is averaging 31.4 points this season, behind only Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who was at 31.9 per game entering Monday. Beal finished second in the league last season to James Harden.
The teams play again on Wednesday at State Farm Arena.