By Ben Sullivan
With the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference up for grabs, the Celtics defeated the Wizards, one of the hottest teams in the league, in a 118-100 play-in game game.
Boston will face second-seeded Brooklyn in the first round.
The Wizards, who finished the regular season 17-6, still have a chance to make the playoffs. They will face Indiana on Thursday (8 ET, TNT) with the winner securing the No. 8 seed and a first-round matchup against Philadelphia.
The Pacers steamrolled Charlotte in the 9-10 play-in game and will need a similar performance to beat the Wizards, who won all three meetings this season, including a 154-141 victory on May 3 and a 133-132 double-overtime thriller on May 8.
Jayson Tatum scored 32 of his 50 points in the second half. “He’s going to be an MVP in this league soon,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.
Kemba Walker added 29 points, and the Celtics had too much firepower for the Wizards to handle, especially in final two quarters.
While neither team is healthy — the Celtics are without injured Jaylen Brown — Washington’s Bradley Beal was not 100% with a strained left hamstring and it showed. Beal had 22 points — nine below his season average — on 10-of-25 shooting.