Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts next to Indiana Pacers forward Doug McDermott (20) and guard Malcolm Brogdon (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference play-in game Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Wizards Advance to NBA First Round Against 76ers, Defeat Pacers

The Washington Wizards (34-38) defeated the Indiana Pacers (34-38) 142 to 115 in Thursday’s play-in game to clinch the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Things looked bleak for the Washington Wizards as they got off to a 6-17 start. The Wizards played furiously to reach the Eastern-conference play-in games. After they lost against the Celtics 118-100, their playoff hopes looked in jeopardy again.

Then, in celebration, amid a humongous lead with five minutes to go, Russel Westbrook threw his shoes out into the crowd.

The first-quarter scoring went back-and-forth, with Washington leading Indiana 30-29 at the buzzer.

Guard Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers with 24 points. Two-time All-Star center Domantas Sabonis put on a triple-double performance, featuring 19 points, 11 rebounds, and ten assists.

The game hit a turning point when the Wizards broke the game open with a 15-0 in the second quarter.

The momentum continued in the third quarter, where the Wizards outscored the Pacers 48-31.

Wizards’ Play

Former Gator guard Bradley Beal led all scoring with 25 points in 28 minutes played.

Russell Westbrook was upset with his performance in the initial play-in game against the Celtics. He utilized the advice of a former Thunder teammate to improve his play against the Pacers.

Armed with this mission, Westbrook scored 18 points and dished out 15 assists.

Second-year power forward and former Gonzaga Bulldog Rui Hachimura also put up 18 points. Going forward, Westbrook said that his teammate’s aggressive play is key to the Wizards’ success.

Up Next

Fans in Capital One Arena chanted “We Want Philly” as the blowout concluded in the fourth quarter.

Wish granted, Westbrook had this to say in preparation for Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and the 76ers.

The Washington Wizards now begin their Eastern Conference quarterfinals duel with the one-seeded Philadelphia 76ers (49-23) Sunday, May 23 at 1 p.m.

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