After one loss back when the Washington Wizards were struggling through a coronavirus-disrupted, injury-depleted and defense-optional stretch of the season that put them 15 games below .500, Russell Westbrook gathered his teammates to speak his mind.
According to coach Scott Brooks, Westbrook delivered a “very passionate, very direct talk” that essentially amounted to: We will not miss the postseason.
Might have seemed far-fetched at the time. Turns out Westbrook was true to his word.
Westbrook nearly produced a triple-double Thursday night, Bradley Beal scored 25 points and the Wizards reached the NBA playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed by overwhelming the Indiana Pacers 142-115 in the play-in round Thursday night.