When the lights are brightest and the moment is the biggest, Bradley Beal has shined this season. And on Saturday in Indiana, No. 3 put together one of his best performances of the season to help the Wizards to a win over the Indiana Pacers..
Despite a hamstring strain that kept him from playing in overtime, Brad poured in 50 points on 19-of-31 shooting. The 50-point performance marked his second such game of the season and the fifth of his NBA career. No. 3 was vital in Washington’s fourth-quarter comeback with 15 points in the quarter.
Washington, seeking to establish the best possible position in the Eastern Conference standings, treated Saturday’s game as a must-win game and once again showed out in a major way against the Indiana Pacers, becoming a part of some NBA history in the process. The 133-132 overtime win came just five days after the Wizards (32-36) beat the Pacers in a 154-141 shootout.
Though Beal’s magnificent performance was without a doubt a major storyline, this may be a game that’ll be most remembered for Russell Westbrook tying Oscar Robertson with the most triple-doubles in NBA history with 181. Westbrook’s 33-point, 15-assist, 19-rebound performance was one for the ages, as Westbrook not only reached the historical mark, but also led the way in overtime by scoring six of the team’s nine points, including the go-ahead free throws with one second left, and he added the game-winning block as time expired.
Neither team was able to create much separation in the first half, with Brad scoring 26 of the Wiz’ 63 points as they took a one-point lead into the half. Indiana responded with a strong third quarter that put the Pacers up 101-92 going into the fourth, and they’d lead until the final 90 seconds.
Brad rolled his ankle in the opening minute of the third which took him out of the game for a few minutes, but he returned later in the quarter to score nine points in nine minutes and carry the load during Washington’s comeback. It was a moment of toughness from Brad, who played through the injury and still looked like the best player on the court.
In the final minutes of the fourth, the Wizards ran off a 9-2 run to take a 120-119 lead after Brad’s layup with 1:28 left in regulation. The game saw two more lead changes in that time before Indiana guard Caris LeVert tied the game up with 13 seconds left to send it to overtime.
In overtime, it became Westbrook’s game as he made a handful of clutch plays to cap off a night he’ll never forget.
The Wizards have now won five of their last eight games with two games on the road against the Atlanta Hawks up next. The first game will be on Monday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. The game can be seen on NBC Sports Washington.
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