Russell Westbrook powers Wizards beatdown of Pacers in NBA play-in tournament

There was a single-elimination game with the NBA playoffs at stake on Thursday, but only one of the teams played like they were aware of that fact.

Behind a dominant performance from Russell Westbrook, the Washington Wizards steamrolled the Indiana Pacers 142-115 in the NBA play-in tournament. The win will book D.C. a trip to the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Philadelphia 76ers awaiting in the first round.

The game itself can be summed up with this gif:

Westbrook finished with 18 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds, posting a vintage performance for the team that took a chance on him in a blockbuster trade last offseason. Bradley Beal, still hobbled by a hamstring injury, led the Wizards in scoring with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting.

While the first quarter was competitive, the Wizards had a 14-point lead by halftime and only built on it from there. By the end of the third quarter, they were up by 31 and booking rooms in Philly. The game was so over, Westbrook was throwing his shoes into the crowd in the fourth quarter:

The loss is the end of the line for the Pacers, who were significantly shorthanded with Myles Turner, T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert all out Thursday.

A spot in the NBA playoffs is the result in an incredible reversal from the Wizards, who were 17-32 at one point in the season, then caught fire to reach the play-in tournament.

The Wizards missed their first shot at the playoffs on Tuesday, when they lost to the Boston Celtics thanks to a 50-point night from Jayson Tatum. No such threat appeared on the Pacers, who defeated the Charlotte Hornets in their own lopsided win on Tuesday.

Game 1 of the Wizards-Sixers series is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards reacts towards the crowd after a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first half at Capital One Arena on May 20, 2021 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. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
The Wizards got vintage Russell Westbrook on Thursday. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

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