Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) reaches to slap hands with forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sunday, May 13, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

NBA Eastern Conference Play-ins

The NBA Eastern Conference’s first pair of play-in games wrapped up Tuesday night. The Boston Celtics earned their spot in the playoffs after defeating the Washington Wizards. The Wizards will take on the Indiana Pacers, who ended the Charlotte Hornets’ season, on Thursday night. The winner of the Wizards and Pacers game will clinch the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Celtics vs. Wizards

The seventh-seed Boston Celtics took down the eighth-seed Washington Wizards in the second game of the NBA’s play-in tournament. This game determined that the Celtics would face the Brooklyn Nets as the number seven seed in the opening rounds of the playoffs. The Wizards will now take on the Indiana Pacers to determine the eighth seed in the East.

At halftime, the Wizards led the game 54-52, but the Celtics were not going down without a fight.

Jayson Tatum took off in the third quarter of the game, where he scored 23 of his 50 total points.

The Wizards were never able to come back as the Celtics pulled ahead. The game finished with a final score of 118-100, and the Celtics clinched the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

In a postgame interview, Jayson Tatum highlighted his excitement to be in the playoffs again. This will be the fourth year in a row for Tatum.

Tatum was named player of the game and achieved his third 50-point game of the season. He shot a perfect 17-of-17 from the free-throw line to earn a new career high as he kept the Wizards in foul trouble.

Hornets vs. Pacers

Domantas Sabonis had a standout game, as he led the ninth-seeded Indiana Pacers past the Charlotte Hornets with a final score of 144-117.

Sabonis finished with 14 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists to hand the Hornets their loss.

The Pacers had a steady lead over the Hornets for most of the game. At the half, they had a 69-45 lead. Miles Bridges led the Hornets with 23 points. The Hornets have lost three-straight postseason games, but this loss will send them home for the offseason.

The Pacers must earn a win against the Wizards on Thursday night to clinch the last spot in the East and appear in the playoffs for the sixth-consecutive year.

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