Wizards Clinch 2021 Play-In Tournament Berth with Win vs. Cavs; Latest Schedule

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 15, 2021

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook shoots during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, May 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

The Washington Wizards are headed to the play-in tournament.

Washington clinched its spot with a 120-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at Capital One Arena, which officially eliminated the Chicago Bulls from contention. The Wizards are 10th in the Eastern Conference at 33-38 and just a half-game behind the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets in the race for the Nos. 8 and 9 spots.

Here is a look at the play-in schedule to this point:

NBA Communications @NBAPR

A look at next week's State Farm NBA Play-In Tournament Schedule πŸ‘€ ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Yb6aIgGHi6

It came as no surprise that Russell Westbrook spearheaded Friday's effort with yet another triple-double.

The NBA's all-time leader in the stat finished with 21 points, 17 assists, 12 rebounds and three steals as one of seven Wizards to finish in double figures. The balanced attack helped make up for the loss of Bradley Beal, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury and has not played in the team's past three games.

Washington still has an opportunity to make up ground with a head-to-head showdown against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

While the Wizards have dealt with some inconsistency throughout the season, they would represent a daunting first-round opponent for squads such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks who have realistic championship aspirations.

The Westbrook and Beal combination is among the league's best, and the team was 15-4 in its previous 19 games prior to the latter's injury.

The Wizards will first have to emerge from the play-in tournament, which pits the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds against each other and the Nos. 9 and 10 seeds against each other. The winner of the first game becomes the seventh seed, while the loser will face the winner of the second game.

The winner of that ensuing game will be the No. 8 seed.