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Wizards sting Hornets to arrange play-in clash with Celtics

WASHINGTON, DC -  MAY 16: Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards shoots the ball during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on May 16, 2021 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Stephen Gosling / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP)
Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards shoots the ball during their game against the Charlotte Hornets on May 16, 2021 at Capital One Arena in Washington. (AFP)

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Washington Wizards rallied to beat the Charlotte Hornets, 115-110, on Sunday to set up an NBA play-in tournament clash with the Boston Celtics.

The final day of the regular season saw all 30 teams in action, with the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers in the hunt for direct entry into the playoffs as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Portland Trail Blazers have the upper hand in the race for the sixth and final direct playoff spot, and will seize it with a victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Early games saw the schedule set for the Eastern Conference play-in, in which the seventh through 10th-placed teams will battle for the final two playoff spots.

Bradley Beal scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half for the Wizards, who trailed by as many as 15 in the third quarter.

Washington’s Russell Westbrook closed out the regular season with another triple-double of 23 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, taking his career tally to 184 the week after he broke the all-time record with his 182nd.

The Wizards finished eighth in the East and will meet Boston, who were already assured of seventh place before their 96-92 loss to the playoff-bound New York Knicks — who locked up the fourth seed in the playoffs.

The Hornets lost their fifth straight and dropped to 10th in the East. They’ll open the play-in against the ninth-placed Pacers in Indiana. The Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors 125-113 on Sunday.

Grabbing the No. 8 spot was big for Washington, since both the seventh- and eighth-placed teams get two chances to book a playoff spot with a single win, while the ninth- or 10th-placed team would need two wins to advance.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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