Washington Wizards smash the Indiana Pacers to clinch eighth seed in NBA Eastern Conference

Bradley Beal calls victory 'the most beautiful thing I’ve seen us do all year'

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal hit 25 points against the Indiana Pacers. AP
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal hit 25 points against the Indiana Pacers. AP

The Washington Wizards smashed the Indiana Pacers 142-115 to clinch the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

After a poor performance in their earlier play-in game against the Boston Celtics, the Wizards found their touch in what was the last chance saloon in securing a play-off spot.

Following a tight first quarter, Russell Westbrook sparked a 16-0 Wizards run early in the second which the Pacers were never able to recover from.

Westbrook and Bradley Beal combined for 43 points, while Domantas Sabonis led the way for Indiana with 19.

“This is probably one of the best games we’ve played all year,” said Beal, who top-scored with 25 points. “It was definitely the most important one of the year. We were all locked in and engaged, man, for a full 48 minutes. It’s probably the most beautiful thing I’ve seen us do all year.”

The Wizards will now meet No 1 seeds Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the play-offs, that begin on Sunday.

The play-in tournament concludes on Saturday with the Memphis Grizzlies taking on the Golden State Warriors for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, the NBA have announced the three finalists for the Most Valuable Player award for the 2020-21 regular season.

Denver’s Nikola Jokic finished ninth in the MVP voting last season. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Golden State’s Stephen Curry didn’t get listed on a single ballot a year ago.

A year later, one of them will walk away with the NBA’s highest individual prize.

Curry is a two-time winner, Jokic’s best previous finish was fourth in 2019 and Embiid’s best MVP showing was seventh in 2019.

Jokic would be the first Denver player to win MVP. Embiid would be Philadelphia’s first winner since Allen Iverson in 2001 and Curry could become the ninth player in NBA history to win the trophy three times.

Updated: May 21, 2021 01:49 PM

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