Updated: May 21
The Eastern Conference took center stage last night as the Play-In Tournament began. The 10th seed: Charlotte Hornets took on the 9th seed: Indiana Pacers, for the right to move on to Thursday. The night cap featured the 8th seed: Washington Wizards in Boston to face the 7th seed: Boston Celtics, for the right to make the Playoffs. Both games took place on TNT, the home the Eastern Conference Finals.
Charlotte Hornets vs. Indiana Pacers
Game one last night was the 10 versus 9 matchup. The Charlotte Hornets was in Indiana to take on the Indiana Pacers. The winner moves on to Thursday's game against the loser of the 8 versus 9 game, the loser on the other hand, goes home and begins their offseason. Unfortunately for this game, it was over after the 1st Quarter. Indiana scored 40 points in the 1st Quarter and led by 16 going into the 2nd Quarter. At halftime, the Pacers led 69-45 and the everyone knew that Charlotte was overmatched.
The Indiana Pacers will go on to the game 114-117 to move on to Thursday's game and the Charlotte Hornets go home with an awful taste in their mouth. Oshae Brissett led the Pacers in points with 23, Doug McDermott added 21 points as eight Pacers scored in double-figures. Domantas Sabonis scored 14 points and grabbed 21 rebounds with 9 assists. No Caris LeVert for the Pacers, who was placed on the health and safety protocol before the game, but with the Pacers moving on to Thursday, could LeVert play in that game to determine the 8th seed in the East?
For Charlotte, terrible way to have your season ended. One of the most fun teams to watch play this season, struggled down the stretch. Falling from the 8th seed to the 10th seed after losing five straight games going into the Play-In. The sixth consecutive lost has to be the worst of them all, not because the season is over, but how the season ended. Losing six straight games and the last one being a beat down from start to finish. Miles Brides led the Hornets with 23 points, potential Rookie of Year, LaMelo Ball had only 14 points as the Hornets begin their offseason.
Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics
The night cap of last night was inside TD Garden in Boston. The 8th seed, the Washington Wizards led by Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook taking on the 7th seed, the Boston Celtics led by Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker for the right to claim the 7th seed in the East. The Wizards were coming into this game winning six of the last 10 games and moved up from the 10th seed to the 8th seed at the end of the regular season. Boston, on the other hand, struggled in their last 10 games only winning four of them. Not having Jaylen Brown for the remained of the season is a huge blow for the C's but their must play the game still.
The 1st half was highly competitive as the Wizards led by 2 at 54-52. The 2nd half was all Boston though. Outscoring the Wizards 66-46 to win 118-100. Jayson Tatum was the star as expected, scoring 50 points last night where 32 of the 50 came in the 2nd half to go along with 8 rebounds. Kemba Walker also had a great game, scoring 29 points with 7 rebounds. Big win for the Celtics but the real test begins on Saturday as they will face the 2nd seed, Brooklyn Nets in the 1st Round of the Playoffs.
As the Washington Wizards, they had a bad shooting from 3. Going 3 for 21 on 3-point shooting shows it. Bradley Beal scored 22 points to lead the Wizards while still dealing with a tender left hamstring. Russell Westbrook had 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists, but listening to the commentators Beal nor Westbrook looking like themselves last night. Beal is understandable, but Westbrook is a head scratcher. The season is not over for the Wizards on the bright, but they have to face the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night at 8:00PM on TNT for the 8th seed in the East.