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Celtics not impressed with Wizards wearing all black: 'That's cute'

Celtics not impressed with Wizards wearing all black: 'That's cute'

The Boston Celtics heard about the Wizards' plans to wear all black to their Tuesday night game at the Verizon Center (6:30 p.m. on CSN), and it does not sound like they are too impressed.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas walked into the upstairs gym at Georgetown Univerisity's athletic center Tuesday morning with a grey hood on his head and immediately announced to the room: "They're wearing all black!"

He later elaborated to reporters.

"That's cute that they're wearing all black. It's definitely not a Game 7. It's not the playoffs," Thomas said. "I saw the the funeral and all black thing last night and I just laughed about it."

Forward Jae Crowder showed up to shootaround wearing a black sweatshirt. 

"I always wear black," he said.

When asked for his reaction to the Wizards' plans, he replied with a sarcastic "okay."

Crowder went on to downplay the rematch.

"They can do all that stuff. We're just here to take care of business." 

The Wizards plans to wear black were revealed by forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. after their win over the Hornets in Charlotte on Monday night. He described it as a "memo to the team" that the Wizards are "ready for whatever." Guard Bradley Beal came up with the idea.

The Wizards and Celtics go at it for the third time this season on Tuesday night, less than two weeks after the two teams were involved in a postgame confrontation in Boston on Jan. 11. Crowder was fined for his role in an altercation that began with him poking Wizards guard John Wall in the nose.

Crowder also made headlines last summer after Al Horford signed with Boston over Washington free agency. He suggested Horford didn't go there because the Celtics swept them in the 2015-16 head-to-head season series.

The rivalry also includes Wall's ejection for a hard foul on Marcus Smart on Nov. 9 of this season. And last year Smart broke Beal's nose in a game at the Verizon Center.

Thomas, for one, considers Wall a good friend.

"We're good friends," he said. "But when we get on the court, we're not friends."

[RELATED: Wizards plan to wear all black to Celtics game]

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NBA reportedly has targeted July 31 to return to play

NBA reportedly has targeted July 31 to return to play

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has told the NBA's Board of Governors that the league has set July 31 as a target date to resume the 2019-20 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The conversation was held on Friday during a conference call that was intended to discuss several return-to-play formats and a potential timeline for resumption of the season. 

Play has been suspended in the NBA since March 11 when Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Teams were nearing the end of the regular season with 15-19 games remaining on their schedules. Only the Golden State Warriors were eliminated from the playoffs.

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It is not clear how the NBA plans on returning. Going straight into the playoffs like the NHL has chosen to do, finishing a condensed regular season for 72 games, a group stage World Cup format, or a play-in tournament are all options on the table.

Earlier in the week, general managers expressed their interest in expanding the playoff field from 16 to 20-24 teams. However, they appear to be split on several other key issues.

Currently, the league is in discussions to hold the rest of the season at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It would be a central location for all the games in a "bubble-like" environment. 

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Report: NBA general managers are in favor of 20 or more playoff teams

Report: NBA general managers are in favor of 20 or more playoff teams

While general managers are split on how the NBA should proceed with the 2020 season, there is one factor that most teams agree on: expanding the playoff field. 

In a survey sent to NBA GMs this week, 83% (25 of 30) of them voted in favor of a "Playoffs Plus" format that would have 20 or more teams in the playoffs, according to Shams Charania. However, the 30 GMs were split on whether to maintain the traditional playoff seeding (53%) or to reseed the field (47%), presumably from 1-20 based on the overall league standings

The traditional NBA's playoff format has 16 team bracket with eight teams from each conference. A format that has been in place since 1984. Adding four teams, whether the four best teams outside the playoffs or two from either conference would make the largest playoff field ever.

Expanding the playoff field would be similar to the NHL's return to play plan which had the top 12 teams in both conferences advancing straight to the playoffs. The NBA is considering a play-in format to include New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento - all Western Conference teams - according to ESPN.

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Other details seem to have less of a consensus from the decision-makers of each franchise. Here are some of the results according to Charania:

  • 53% (16) GMs want to advance directly to the NBA playoffs, 27% (8) would like an abbreviated season with a play-in
  • 60% (18) were in favor of a 72-game season. All teams had completed 63-67 games before the stoppage.
  • Non-playoff teams were split on resuming the season
  • Most GMs wanted the season to conclude by Oct. 1
  • They wanted a larger roster or more flexibility when play resumes

None of the results of the survey are set in stone. Merely they were used to gauge opinions from each team. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will talk with the league’s board of governors to discuss formats and a potential timeline on Friday. 

The Wizards are currently the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference and 5.5 games out of the standard final playoff spot. In terms of the league standings, they have the 22nd-best record in the NBA.

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