Westbrook goes off in OT to lift Wizards past Pelicans
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored 10 of Washington's 12 points in overtime, including a pair of free throws to break a tie with just one second left after he was fouled by Zion Williamson, and the Washington Wizards edged the New Orleans Pelicans 117-115 Friday night in a game between teams just hoping to qualify for the NBA's play-in round.
Westbrook accumulated 36 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists, just shy of what would have been a seventh consecutive triple-double.
NBA leading scorer Bradley Beal added 30 points despite going 0 for 9 on 3-point attempts, helping Washington come back to collect its third victory in a row and fifth in the past six games.
Brandon Ingram scored 34 points for New Orleans, and Williamson added 21 but was in foul trouble throughout and picked up his sixth on the late play while guarding Westbrook away from the basket.
Washington led by as many as 13 in the first half; New Orleans went up by nine in the fourth quarter.
It was 103-94 for the visitors with 5 1/2 minutes left, but Westbrook’s fast-break layup with 77 seconds to go capped an 11-2 run by Washington that tied it at 105.
Neither team could score the rest of the way in regulation.
That drought included Lonzo Ball's missed corner 3 — making him 0 for 7 from beyond the arc — with about 20 seconds to go, and Beal's straightaway 3 off the front of the rim at the buzzer ending the fourth quarter.
In OT, Westbrook poured in Washington's first eight points, assisted on a bucket by Beal, then won the game at the foul line. In the closing sequence, Williamson threw the ball away at one end, then was whistled for the foul at the other.
New Orleans has lost two games in a row after winning three straight.
Ball, back in the lineup after missing four games with a sore left hip flexor, had four points.
Ingram scored 14 in the first quarter, which ended with the Wizards ahead 30-29. By halftime, he was up to 24, his season average for a full game.
Williamson headed to the sideline after picking up his third foul with more than nine minutes left in the first half and New Orleans already down 40-31. Washington was up 62-61 at the half.
But New Orleans was ahead 89-86 entering the fourth.
Both teams are trying to win enough down the stretch of the coronavirus-shortened 72-game regular season to sneak into the play-in portion of the postseason.
The Pelicans entered Friday with a 25-30 record, two games behind San Antonio for 10th place in the Western Conference. Similarly, the Wizards came in 12th in the East, but their 21-33 record put them just one game behind the 10th-place Chicago Bulls.
Washington now has 17 games left; the season ends a month from Friday.
“It's definitely going to be an exciting stretch of games for us,” coach Scott Brooks said. “Hopefully we can stay healthy.”
Pelicans: C Jaxson Hayes did not play in the second half after being ruled out with back spasms. He scored three points. ... With Ball back, coach Stan Van Gundy was asked whether Williamson would need to adapt to having fewer ballhandling opportunities. “He’ll still have a huge role,” Van Gundy said. “He doesn’t have to worry about that.” Williamson finished with zero assists against Washington.
Wizards: Substitute center Daniel Gafford’s 13 points topped the Wizards in the half — and that came in merely nine minutes of action. He finished with a season-best 18 points, along with four blocks. ... Davis Bertans missed the game due to personal reasons. He is shooting 40% on 3-point attempts and averaging 11.2 ppg, which ranks fourth among Wizards who have appeared in more than 10 games this season.
Pelicans: At Madison Square Garden on Sunday, facing the Knicks for the second time in five days.
Wizards: Go back-to-back, hosting the East-worst Detroit Pistons on Saturday night.
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