Who would have thought the biggest rival of the Boston Celtics would be the Washington Wizards? Over the past year and a half the Celtics and Wizards have had bad blood with each other and will meet for the first time this season, with all eyes watching on Christmas Day.
Bad Blood Last Season:
November 9: In Washington, Marcus Smart and John Wall goy into it late in the fourth quarter. The Celtics were down by 20, when Marcus Smart was bringing the ball up the court. He was then fouled by John Wall, who was “going for the ball.” Smart did not take this lightly and exchanged a few words with Wall. Wall was given a technical foul and an ejection.
January 11: In Boston, the Celtics beat the Wizards 117-108. After the game had concluded, it was Jae Crowder who found himself in a heated exchange with John Wall this time. There was a little more than verbal exchanges this go-around, as Crowder pointed at Wall, making physical contact to his noise. Wall did not like this, as he gave Crowder a little slap to the cheek in return. The players had to be separated by teammates and coaches. Crowder was later fined 25,000 by the NBA for starting the confrontation, while Wall was fined 15,000 for being involved as well.
January 24: The Wizards show up to their home game against the Celtics wearing all black, to imply they were attending the Celtics funeral. Wizards forward, Kelly Oubre told the media, “All black man, you know what it means.” Although it would have been nice to see the Wizards lose and be embarrassed by their bold actions, they defeated the Celtics this night 123-108, as John Wall and Bradley Beal put on a show, combining for 58 points.
It was only fate that these two teams, who despised each other would meet in the Playoffs. This was a greatly anticipated matchup with the bad blood story line in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The Celtics won the first two games at home, while the Wizards won their next two home games, to even the series at 2-2.
Game 3: Clean hard basketball was played in Boston throughout the first two games. Bad blood was reunited between these two teams in Game 3 at Washington between the “Two Kelly’s.” Kelly Oubre Jr. and Kelly Olynk were in the middle of this altercation. Oubre charged at Olynk, after he thought Olynk set a dirty screen on him. Kelly Oubre received a game suspension for charging at Olynk. Although it may look like a vicious push on Olynk, who went flying, I’m sure Olynk flopped a little bit.
The Celtics won Game 5 in Boston and was ready to finish the Wizards.Traveling back to Washington for Game 6, the Celtics attempted to give the Wizards a piece of their own medicine as it was their turn to show up in all black to the “Wizards funeral,” which could have been the Wizards last game of the season with a loss. The Celtics plans of ending the Wizards season had failed as John Wall hit a game winning 3-pointer with 3 seconds left (92-91), as the Wizards forced a Game 7.
Kelly Olynk was the unexpected hero in Game 7, scoring 26 points, leading the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals. Below is the clip of Olynk’s career night. It was bitter sweet for Celtic’s fans, who caught a glimpse of Oubre on television with a blank face on the bench, after Olynk hit a huge three, to clinch the series for Boston. (2:54)
Although, it may be a completely new Boston Celtics team, with only 4 players from last years roster, I assure you that these two teams will continue to not like each other. Also, Marcus Smart is one of those players still in green, so I will not be surprised if he is yapping back and forth with John Wall on Christmas Day.
I believe Jaylen Brown will bring his defensive physicality this game, as well as Terry Rozier, who got in the face of John Wall last year after the Crowder incident. Also, “The Rook”, Jayson Tatum has something to prove this game to his “friend” on the Wizards Bradley Beal. Tatum and Beal are friends off the court, but as Beal said in an interview with ESPN, “He’s wearing that color green, that’s the color we don’t necessarily like.”
Sit back and enjoy this rivalry on Christmas day, and let’s hope no one shows up in Black this time.