Basketball / NBA

Wizards' Rui Hachimura drops 25 on Hawks; Thunder to trade Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul

AP, Staff Report, Kyodo, Reuters

Rui Hachimura scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half to help the Washington Wizards beat the Atlanta Hawks 76-74 on Thursday in the NBA Summer League.

Selected ninth overall last month, the former Gonzaga University star was 9 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. He pulled down a team-high nine rebounds, blocked two shots and handed out an assist in 32 productive 32 minutes, which also led the team.

The Toyama native scored 10 points in the third quarter as Washington took a 52-51 lead into the final stanza.

Garrison Mathews added 11 points for Washington, while Isaac Bonga had 10.

Charles Brown led Atlanta (1-3) with 16 points. Tahjere McCall scored all 12 of his points in the first half. De’Andre Hunter, the No. 4 overall pick, did not play for the second straight game.

The Wizards finished with two wins and two losses in the preliminary round of the Summer League.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Hachimura reflected on the team’s performance.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well (today) in the first half,” Hachimura said, “and we came back with good energy and won the game.”

Atlanta led 34-32 at halftime.

Indeed, Hachimura sparked the Wizards in the second half.

“I’m getting more comfortable with the speed of the game, you know, the NBA game,” Hachimura acknowledged.

Asked about being a lottery selection, Hachimura said he doesn’t dwell on it.

“I don’t care how high I got drafted,” he told reporters. “I’m just working to do whatever I have to do for the team. I’ve got to improve every day little by little and help this team out.”

Hachimura is averaging 19.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in three Summer League contests.

Also Thursday, the Boston Celtics beat the Memphis Grizzlies 113-87. Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe, who attended George Washington University, didn’t play.

In other NBA news, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded guard Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for guard Chris Paul and a pair of first-round draft picks, multiple media outlets reported on Thursday.

The Thunder will receive the Rockets’ first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and the option to swap picks in 2021 and 2025, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 are top-4 protected. The 2021 swap is also protected 1-4, with the Thunder allowed to swap either of their first-rounders received from the Los Angeles Clippers or Miami Heat. The 2025 swap is protected from 1-20.

The move reunites Westbrook, 30, with former Thunder teammate and reigning NBA scoring champion James Harden. They played together for three seasons from 2009 to 2012, making the playoffs all three years and reaching the NBA Finals in 2012.