NBA Playoff Picture 2021: Updated East Bracket After Celtics Advance

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2021

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket past Washington Wizards center Robin Lopez, rear left, during the second half of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference play-in game Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Boston. At rear right is Wizards guard Garrison Mathews. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

And then there was one.

One spot remains in the traditional eight-team bracket in the Eastern Conference playoffs following Tuesday's play-in tournament action. Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics clinched the No. 7 seed and a first-round showdown with the Brooklyn Nets with a dominant 118-100 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Washington will now face the Indiana Pacers for the No. 8 seed.

Here is a look at the updated Eastern Conference playoff picture.

1. Philadelphia 76ers vs. 8. TBA

2. Brooklyn Nets vs. 7. Boston Celtics

3. Milwaukee Bucks vs. 6. Miami Heat

4. New York Knicks vs. 5. Atlanta Hawks

Neither game was close Tuesday.

The Pacers preserved their season with a commanding 144-117 win over the Charlotte Hornets in the first one and will now have a chance to extend their streak of playoff appearances to six straight years with a win over the Wizards.

Indiana struggled down the stretch of the season with injuries and went just 9-11 in its final 20 games.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Edmond Sumner beats the 1Q buzzer 🔥<br><br>Pacers are cooking pic.twitter.com/JMdCWNpVPL

However, it flipped a switch Tuesday with eight different players in double figures in a game that was never in doubt. Domantas Sabonis was dominant on the boards with 21 rebounds, while Doug McDermott set the tone early from the outside on his way to 21 points.

Oshae Brissett paced all scorers with 23 points, and the Indiana defense held LaMelo Ball to 14 points, four assists and four turnovers on an ugly 4-of-14 shooting from the field.

That defense will be tested in the next game against Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal, although they were a combined 16-of-43 (37.2 percent) from the field in Washington's loss to the Celtics.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

TATUM NOW HAS 48 PTS.<br><br>OMG pic.twitter.com/SnYHvcbv9T

Westbrook had just five assists and missed all four of his three-pointers, while Beal was just 1-of-6 from deep as he dealt with a hamstring injury.

The Wizards also didn't have an answer for Tatum, who exploded for 50 points. He took over after Washington built a halftime lead and poured in 23 points during the third quarter alone to help swing the game.

Throw in 29 points from Kemba Walker, and the Celtics looked like a team that can at least challenge the Nets even though Jaylen Brown is sidelined.