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Westbrook, Beal lead Wizards into playoffs with 142-115 rout of Pacers

Washington Wizards guards Russell Westbrook (pictured) and Bradley Beal sparked a dominant NBA Play-In Tournament win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE
Washington Wizards guards Russell Westbrook (pictured) and Bradley Beal sparked a dominant NBA Play-In Tournament win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE

May 21 (UPI) -- Russell Westbrook scored 18 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished eight assists Thursday night to lead the Washington Wizards to a rout of the Indiana Pacers, and the No. 8 seed in the East for the playoffs.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal scored a game-high 25 points in the 142-115 triumph at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

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"I knuckled down and took care of my body and made sure my mind was right coming into the game," Westbrook told reporters after the game. "My energy and effort was there and my team could follow me."

The eighth-place Wizards lost to the seventh-place Boston Celtics in their first Play-In Tournament game earlier this week, which meant they needed to beat the Pacers to make the playoffs.

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With Thursday's win, Washington earned the right to take on the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the first round, which starts Sunday in Philadelphia.

Thursday's game featured six lead changes, all of which came in the first quarter. The Wizards then led by as many as 38 points in the second half.

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The Wizards bench outscored the Pacers bench 63-43 in the victory. Washington shot 58% from the floor and 50% from 3-point range, while Indiana shot 41% from the field and 36.6% from downtown.

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Malcolm Brogdon scored 24 points to lead the Pacers and center Domantas Sabonis recorded a triple-double, with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss.

Rui Hachimura and Daniel Gafford scored 18 and 15 points, respectively, for the Wizards and Rui Neto chipped in another 14 points in the win.

"I'm excited about the group," Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters. "I knew we would bounce back. I'm glad they did it they way we did: on both ends of the floor.

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"It feels great anytime you can stick together through tough times and keep fighting for each other."

The 76ers host the Wizards in Game 1 of their series at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

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