The Washington Wizards will have to utilize their second chance to get into the 2021 NBA playoffs.
Tuesday night’s first play-in game didn’t go as Bradley Beal and the Wizards had hoped, thanks in large part to Brad’s friend and fellow St. Louisan, Jayson Tatum. Tatum scored 50 points as the Celtics topped Wizards 118-100. For his part, Brad, still working his way back from a hamstring strain, scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out six assists, but it wasn’t enough to get the best of Tatum’s Boston team, which now moves on to play the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
After the game, Brad was effusive in his praise of Tatum.
“He was excited about the game. He was up. And it didn’t matter who was in front of him,” Brad told reporters. “That’s something that I’ve been trying to tell his ass for years. It’s tough when you guard him. He’s 6’9″. He can get his shot off, he’s strong, and he can shoot the ball. He’s a three-level scorer. You’ve got to respect everything he can do on the floor. just tried to make it difficult for him, be physical. I know a lot of his moves, so a lot of it, I was there, but I’m only 6’3″. I wish I was 6’9″ with robotic arms, but he’s a special talent, man. I’ve been saying that since he was in diapers.”
Tatum, meanwhile, noted that having to hear Brad potentially trash talk him for years to come had the Wizards defeated the Celtics was a motivator behind his 50-point performance.
“I didn’t want to lose to Brad,” Tatum said in his postgame interview with TNT. “I wasn’t going to hear that for the rest of my career. So getting this win against him, and feeling good about ourselves, it’s a good win.”
While the Celtics move into the playoffs, the Wizards get another chance to qualify on Thursday night in D.C. when they host the Indiana Pacers, who defeated the Charlotte Hornets earlier Tuesday to set up the do-or-die game with Washington. This time, the winner advances to face the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs while the loser goes home for the summer. Tip-off is from Capital One Arena is slated for 8 p.m. ET. and the game can be seen on TNT.