Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Bradley Beal scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter and the Washington Wizards cruised to a 118-102 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday to clinch the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Wizards (44-38) won their last four games of the regular season for their best record in nine years and will face the Chicago Bulls on the road Sunday in their first playoff game in six years.
"I think we have a lot of confidence," said Beal. "We're happy where we're at and how we're playing. It's all about our defense. We're playing tremendous defense right now and as long as we continue to do that we're going to finish pretty well."
The Celtics (25-57) went 3-16 in their last 19 games to finish with their worst record since going 24-58 in 2006-07, the season before they added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and won the team's first NBA championship in 22 years.
Trevor Booker scored all 20 of his points in the first half, John Wall added 15 points and nine assists and Marcin Gortat scored 15 with 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who went 2-1 against Chicago in the regular season.
Kelly Olynyk scored 24 points to lead Boston and Jeff Green had 20.
The Wizards shot 56.8 percent for the game, including 60 percent in the fourth quarter, when their lead ballooned as high as 26 and they were able to rest their starters. Neither Wall nor Booker played in the quarter.
"Credit them; they put us in a world of hurt in a lot of different match-ups," said first-year Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "It's a good basketball team who's playing well right now, who, as I said earlier, is really sitting pretty for the future because they've got really good players at the one and the two that are both very young, that have a chance to be elite at their positions."
Earlier, Wall (13) and Booker (10) combined for 23 points in the first quarter and the Wizards shot almost 67 percent for a 38-24 lead going into the second. They led by as many as 15 following a 14-4 burst led by Gortat's six points.
The Celtics trimmed it to five in the second quarter but the Wizards pushed their advantage back to 15 and led by 12 at halftime, 68-56, behind Booker's 20 points. They extended it to 16 points with a 13-2 run sparked by Gortat's 3-pointer and ended the third quarter with a 91-75 advantage.