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Wizards reach NBA playoffs, Knicks close in on berth

Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards, pictured during an NBA game at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 21, 2013
Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards, pictured during an NBA game at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 21, 2013

The Washington Wizards are headed to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2008, punching their post-season ticket with a 118-92 win over Boston.

Marcin Gortat on Wednesday scored 22 points, pulled down eight rebounds and handed out four assists for the Wizards, who got 19 points from Bradley Beal on 7-of-8 shooting from the field.

Trevor Ariza chipped in 18 points and seven rebounds for the Wizards and John Wall added 13 points and 10 assists.

Boston reserve Jared Sullinger scored a game-high 25 points, but the Celtics suffered their 11th defeat in 12 games.

The Wizards raced to a 21-6 lead less than six minutes into the contest and never trailed from there.

Washington led by as many as 33 in the fourth quarter, and Boston couldn't get the gap below 20 pints in the final period.

Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, seen in action during an NBA game at Verizon Center in Washington, DC, on March 26, 2014
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, seen in action during an NBA game at Verizon Center in Washington, DC, on March 26, 2014

The Wizards are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference, where defending champions Miami, Indiana, Toronto, Chicago and Brooklyn have also secured their playoff berths.

The New York Knicks kept their push for a playoff spot alive with a 110-81 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

J.R. Smith made half of his 12 shots from three-point range, scoring 24 points. The Knicks connected on 60 percent of their shots from the field, although Smith said it was New York's defence that was the real key.

"We got stops, we made the extra pass and knocked down shots," he said.

Smith also had eight rebounds and six assists while Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who moved into a virtual tie with fading Atlanta for the eighth and final spot in the East.

Chicago beat the Hawks 105-92 in Atlanta on Wednesday, the Hawks' seventh defeat in their last eight games.

"We still feel like we have a chance," said Atlanta's Paul Millsap, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks. "Still got a lot more games left, try to tough it out and see what happens."