The Wizards advanced to the inaugural NBA play-in tournament with their 120-105 win over the Cavaliers on Friday.
And they can thank Russell Westbrook for bringing them there.
With Bradley Beal sidelined for a third straight game, he fell on Westbrook to carry the charge against Cleveland. Westbrook was up to the task, posting 21 points, 12 rebounds and 17 assists in 40 minutes.
It was the seventh straight game of at least 15 assists for Westbrook, a feat that was only matched by two Hall of Fame members: John Stockton and Isiah Thomas.
Westbrook’s escape in the second half of the season is a big reason the Wizards had a remarkable run in the play-in tournament. At the start of April, the team was 17-32 and seemed on their way to another lottery choice.
In their last 22 games, the Wizards have gone 16-6 to climb to 10th in the East. Westbrook was the catalyst, averaging 23.0 points, 13.5 rebounds and 14.1 assists per game during that span.
And if the Wizards are to make an unexpected noise in the playoffs, he’ll have to continue his high-profile game.