NBA: Wizards clinch play-in berth with win over Cavaliers

Field Level Media, Reuters

Posted at May 15 2021 11:52 AM

NBA: Wizards clinch play-in berth with win over Cavaliers 1
Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (2) during the first quarter at Capital One Arena. Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Russell Westbrook added to his NBA triple-double record with the 183rd of his career Friday night, helping the Washington Wizards clinch a berth in the play-in round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as they stopped the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-105 in Washington, D.C.

Westbrook finished with 21 points, 17 assists and 12 rebounds for the Wizards (33-38), who could still finish as high as eighth place in the conference if they beat Charlotte in their final game and Indiana drops its final two games.

Six other players scored in double figures for Washington. Davis Bertans tallied 17 points, while Rui Hachimura and reserve Robin Lopez each hit for 14. Anthony Gill and Daniel Gafford chipped in 12 points apiece and Ish Smith added 11.

Collin Sexton scored a game-high 26 points for Cleveland (22-49) but also committed six of its 17 turnovers. 

Jarrett Allen added 18 points and a game-best 14 rebounds, while Isaac Okoro hit for 17 points. Cedi Osman netted 16 and Dean Wade contributed 12 points.

The difference in the game was bench play. The Wizards' reserves outscored the Cavaliers' bench by a whopping 58-16.

Cleveland got off to a fast first-quarter start, thanks to sizzling shooting. 

It canned 12 of 21 from the field, including 4 of 9 on 3-pointers, and led by as many as seven points before Westbrook sank two free throws and a 3-pointer to pull Washington within 33-31 after 12 minutes.

Westbrook's free throws with 8:04 left in the half gave the Wizards a 44-38 advantage, but the Cavs rallied and took a 53-47 lead on a Darius Garland 3-pointer at the 4:06 mark. 

However, Westbrook drove for a layup with 15.3 seconds on the clock to put Washington ahead 58-56 at intermission.

The Wizards obtained separation in the third quarter with a 15-5 run over the final 4:23 of the period. 

Hachimura started it with a layup as he was fouled, and Gill ended it by sinking two foul shots to make it 91-76 going to the fourth period.