Russell Westbrook only needed three quarters to get his first triple-double as a Washington Wizard but he will have to wait a little longer to get his first victory.
The All-Star point guard made his Washington debut in typical Westbrook fashion with 21 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds. But it wasn’t enough to spoil Doc Rivers’ Philadelphia debut as the Sixers took a 113-107 win over the Wizards in Philadelphia.
Westbrook, who was traded for John Wall before the start of training camp, became just the sixth player in NBA history with a triple-double in his team debut according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The point guard had 13 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds by the end of the third quarter, becoming the first player with a triple-double within the first three quarters of his team’s season opener over the last 25 seasons according to research by ESPN Stats and Information. Denver’s Nikola Jokic then duplicated the feat later on Wednesday night when he had a triple-double through three quarters as well.
This, though, is familiar territory for Westbrook, who now has 45 career triple-doubles through 3 quarters — nearly four times as many as any other player over the last 25 seasons.
Still, Westbrook didn’t get what he really wanted the most — his first victory with the Wizards.
“Not good enough,” Westbrook said of his performance. “Honestly, I am kind of disappointed in myself, just some mishaps and plays where I could have been better.
“I don’t like to lose. At any point in my career, I love to go out and win the game. I got to be better next game.”
Westbrook shot 9-for-22 and missed both of his 3-point attempts. But his new backcourt mate Bradley Beal scored 31 points and had four steals.
The Wizards said they felt Westbrook’s trademark intensity and competitiveness right from the start in camp. But Beal finally got to see and feel it in a real game.
“I love it,” Beal said. “Granted it’s only one game but I just love his energy, his competitiveness and his accountability at the end of the day. I think that is what I love most about him. I’m the type of guy, I want accountability, I want somebody who is going to light a fire under me, want somebody to tell me what I am doing wrong.
“We hold that standard. I think Russ does that to a high, high level. I think it is needed. It is a direct carryover to the rest of the team. He brings the energy, he sets the tone and we feed off of him.”
Westbrook and Beal had six turnovers each and Washington committed a total of 20 turnovers as Philadelphia scored 40 points in the fourth quarter to pull away. But Westbrook also admitted he will commit and live with some turnovers if it comes while trying to make the right play or if he is personally trying to get his teammates prepared for the up-tempo pace he plays at.
After the loss, Westbrook said he was going to study film of Beal to learn more about his new dynamic scoring guard.
“He is really, really good,” Westbrook said. “Not just at scoring the basketball but in creating space and getting to his spots. As I watch film, once I get on this plane, I will learn and see how I can be able to help him, make the game easier for him as we go along this journey.
“This is the first of many [games], so we got to make sure, I got to make sure I can make the game easier for him along the way.”