Westbrook triple-double, Beal's 37 ... and Wizards loss

The numbers of the pair are not enough and the Wizards lose again. Portland, with Lillard as the offensive leader and a very successful Carmelo, takes a breath.


The Wizards' wilderness journey is endless. Chaining one disaster after another is the bread and butter of a franchise that has not played the playoffs since 2018, that has shed its last great reference, a John Wall who has not played a game with them as well since (late) 2018 and that now, healthy, has set course for the Rockets; and, above all, that it seems to have no end in a gargantuan crisis, with meaningless movements, a coach (Scott Brooks) who is not the problem but has never been the solution, and a formal and structural crisis that is, moreover, vertical, monopolizing offices, bench and players. The arrival of Westbrook, an SUV that looks like a velociraptor (yes, like the dinosaur), seemed to be accompanied by a certain optimism. His union with a prolific scorer like Bradley Beal (more than 30 points per game last season and 35 this time) and his ability to run and generate statistics resulted in three post-Durant Thunder playoff appearances. Now 32-year-old Russ has lost his explosiveness, suffered even more in a release where he never excelled and has his reputation definitely shattered, and not just through his own fault. Harden and his stuff.

Nothing, obviously, has gone as originally expected. The Wizards are with a 4-13 record and are the worst team in the East and in the entire NBA, a dubious honor for which they have had to overcome real embarrassments like Timberwolves or Pistons. They have won two games against the Nets that nobody understands (one in Brooklyn and the other, a few days ago, in Washington and miraculously) and they do nothing but lose to minor or major rivals, going through games without pain or glory, with some Beal scoring record and the odd triple-double of a Westbrook who has 150 and is 31 of the absolute record (181), held by Oscar Robertson. That's what the playmaker has left, a player who has averaged triple-double in three consecutive seasons (something historic), who has achieved the second double-triple-double in history (at least reach 20 in the three main categories statistics) and has broken countless records that have not allowed him to access the ring (at least, since he separated from Durant, when he was a candidate and played in the 2012 Finals) nor have they left him in a good place in the face of opinion public, that place where the battles that decide wars are won.

Against the Blazers, Westbrook went to 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, in addition to finishing 7 of 15 in shooting from the field. And Beal got 37 points, the same as in the victory against the Nets, and with a spectacular shooting series: 14 of 24, with 6 of 12, to which he added 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Of course, he finished with a -12 and Westbrook with a -14, in addition to adding 8 losses between the two (4 per beard) and doing, collectively, the same defensive ridicule that they have been aiming for all season. In the first quarter they already received 40 points and in the second they scored their own, but they endorsed another 35, 75 at halftime. A real embarrassment from which they did not leave or try to leave. Between that and the farce around Beal, who many place outside the Wizards and with the intention of joining a competitive team (something that, by the way, the franchise and player have denied), the franchise has a rope for a while, especially on the negative side. It is never good to be affected by this type of rumor, but if you are the bottom of the League, the feeling of entering a well from which there is no way out is magnified to unsuspected limits.

And the Blazers, of course, won. The Wizards' disaster takes away some prominence, but the victory was necessary for the interests of the Oregon team, which sits (relatively) in seventh position in the West with an 11-9 record, ahead of a post-Harden Rockets. They rank eighth in an unexpected and deserved way and tied with the Grizzlies for sixth, just half a game behind Phoenix and one of the Nuggets. Of course, the thing is tight. Against the Wizards, by the way, Lillard went to 32 points (4 of 14 on triples), Carmelo remembered his best days (21 points with 8 of 16 shooting), Gary Trent Jr. had 26, Kanter a double -double of 14 + 15 (still adding without Nurkic) and Hood and Covington finished with 15 and 19 respectively. A great collective effort, a little from everyone and not too much effort to win a team that is a team and that continues with its particular descent into hell. A place that, unfortunately, they know very well.

Photos from as.com
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