Russell Westbrook wowed teammates with game-winning rebound vs. Clippers

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Chase Hughes
·3 min read
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Westbrook wowed teammates with game-winning rebound originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Head coach Scott Brooks often refers to Russell Westbrook as the greatest rebounder ever to play the point guard position, so there was no one he would have rather had in the spot Westbrook was in with seven seconds on the clock in the Wizards' win over the Clippers on Thursday.

Rui Hachimura missed his second free throw with a mere two-point lead and as he did, Westbrook came sprinting from beyond the 3-point line behind the line of rebounders to jump in front of 7-foot center Ivica Zubac. Westbrook deflected the ball into Bradley Beal's hands, as Beal dribbled it out and threw the ball high into the air to seal the victory.

Hachimura's miss would have given the Clippers a good opportunity to either tie the game or win it at the buzzer. Westbrook, though, had other ideas and as a result the Wizards now go into the All-Star break winners of eight of their last 11 games.

"Russell has a knack for just doing the out-of-nowhere plays," Brooks said.

"Only a handful of guys in the league can make those types of plays, that can go 25 feet and get a deflection and get a bit of the ball."

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Brooks said he thought Westbrook read the miss off the rim well ahead of time, which helped him anticipate which way it would bounce. It was then a matter of him wanting it more than the Clippers.

Westbrook was not made available for comment after the game, but his teammates did plenty of talking about the game-winning play. They ranged from amazement to being amazed with the caveat that it's Westbrook and that's just what he does.

"Initially, I didn’t [see him], but then I seen a red jersey just flying out of nowhere," Beal said. "I just knew it had to be Russ. It couldn’t be nobody else doing that. That was definitely a heads-up play, a smart play at the end of the game."

Davis Bertans said he asked Westbrook soon afterward: "how the hell did you get that rebound?" Moe Wagner said part of him wasn't surprised simply because it was Westbrook.

"That dude has, and don’t tell him I said this, he has the heart of a lion. I don’t want to give him too much credit, but he’s unbelievable," Wagner joked.

"I mean, it’s Russell Westbrook. In my opinion, he’s one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA history. It’s not really unexpected. It’s a will play, honestly."

What Wizards players could agree on was that they were thankful to have Westbrook make that play in that moment, as it ended the first half of their season on a high note. They are still only 14-20 on the season, with much work still left to do to reach their goals.

But if they lost to the Clippers, it would have been three straight. Thanks to Westbrook, that isn't the case.

"I’m extremely happy to be on the same side as him," Wagner said.