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Everyone agrees Wizards-Celtics series going Game 7 was meant to be

Everyone agrees Wizards-Celtics series going Game 7 was meant to be

The basketball gods must be in a giving mood, as the wishes of hoops fans have been granted one after another in recent weeks. First, the Wizards and Celtics matched up in the playoffs in a series everyone wanted to see following their spirited regular season rivalry. Then, very quickly that series lived up to the hype both on the court and off the court in terms of the pure disdain between both teams. And now, after the shot of John Wall's basketball life on Friday night, we get a do-or-die Game 7.

How fitting.

Wall and Bradley Beal sat next to each other on the podium following the Wizards' 92-91 victory, an instant classic that is among the biggest wins for the franchise in decades. When asked if it this series was destined to go seven, they immediately nodded their heads in unison.

"It's only right," Wall said.

"It had to go seven," Bradley Beal added.

[RELATED: Thomas thinks it's ridiculous Wizards were motivated by all-black stunt]

Though most of the games so far this series have lopsided, the two teams are very closely matched. Each has held serve at home so far this series. Now it will all come down to one final battle in Boston where the Wizards haven't won since 2014.

"Yes. I think absolutely," head coach Scott Brooks said when asked if a Game 7 was inevitable. "We played each other during the regular season and split the series 2-2. It seems like it was meant to be... It's going to be great for the league, great for the fans and we're all going to look forward to it."

Brooks is undefeated in his coaching career in Game 7s. His Oklahoma City Thunder won Game 7 in the first round back in 2013-14 and in the second round to reach the conference finals in 2010-11. The Wizards hope to do the same and reach their first conference finals since 1979.

"It's great. You always talk about it," Brooks said. "The two best words in the playoffs are 'Game 7.' You get an opportunity to play in a Game 7 when every player on this team as a kid dreamt about playing in Game 7. Those were the places you dreamt about. I dreamt about playing in the Spectrum. That was my favorite team growing up. I'm sure all the guys had their favorite teams. You always want the opportunity to make that last shot when you were a kid. All of these guys get the opportunity to be part of a Game 7 and it doesn't happen often. I don't know if half the guys have been in a Game 7."

In order to keep their season alive, the Wizards will have to win a road game despite being 1-5 as visitors in these playoffs. It won't be easy, but they will relish the opportunity.

[RELATED: Chenier delivers for Wizards again, sets Verizon crowd on fire]

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John Wall shares fear of being pulled over by police, experiences growing up with racial discrimination

John Wall shares fear of being pulled over by police, experiences growing up with racial discrimination

As people around the country continue to protest police brutality and racial injustices against black people, athletes continue to add their powerful voices and experiences to the cause.

Wizards guard John Wall joined in the conversation, discussing the fear he continues to have about being pulled over by the police. For many black Americans, the reality of racial discrimination makes the mere thought of being pulled over more daunting than it should be. Apparently that anxiety doesn’t dissipate just because you’re a star athlete.

“If I get pulled over right now, I’m terrified,” Wall said on Thursday’s episode of The Athletic’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “To be realistic. If I’m in a dark area, or a back street, I’m not stopping. I’ll go to a high-speed chase to get to a spot where it’s a grocery store, or somewhere where there’s a lot of lights at, because that’s how terrifying it is.”

To some, it may be jarring to hear a recognizable, millionaire athlete discuss his fear of the police, but the money and acclaim don't provide a shield from racism. And for many black people, the fear is instilled at a young age, either through personal experiences or those of people with the same skin color. In the age of camera phones, more and more incidents are being recorded for the world to see.

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George Floyd was suffocated and killed by a white police officer in Minnesota who put a knee to his neck for over eight minutes. Breonna Taylor was shot at least eight times and killed in her own home by police in Louisville. Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death by a white father and son while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood.

“You’re telling me if I want to be a black kid to jog in a neighborhood, and I say, ‘Ok, I want to cut through this white neighborhood, this rich neighborhood,’ and then all of a sudden, I’m targeted to get killed?” Wall continued. “Because I don’t belong there? Those are the kind of things I grew up with, like you wouldn’t go to this side of town where you wasn’t allowed. Why? We breathe the same air.”

Wall, who grew up in Raleigh, N.C., said the constant acts of racial discrimination have been frustrating and that all people want to see is justice. 

“I feel like this has been going on for decades, been going on for so much longer than the time I’ve been on this earth,” he said. “But if we didn’t have social media or camera phones right now, we wouldn’t be able to see this act going on.”

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver confident one positive COVID-19 diagnosis won't derail NBA's return plan

NBA commissioner Adam Silver confident one positive COVID-19 diagnosis won't derail NBA's return plan

The NBA now has a concrete plan to return to action, but there are still obstacles that will need solving when play resumes. One of the most important will be the health and safety of players amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Specifically, the league will need to know how to handle the possibility of a positive COVID-19 virus diagnosis. With a large number of individuals destined to be in close proximity in Orlando, could one player testing positive derail the entire plan? Would that team then have to be eliminated due to the potential risk they carry?

According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, that will not be the case.

“The answer is we don’t believe we would need to," Silver told Charles Barkley on TNT's Inside the NBA, referring to the idea of having to eliminate a team due to a positive coronavirus result.

Silver's confidence stems from the vast amount of research and preparation the league has done to get to this stage in the return process. Not only have NBA officials detailed plans of action, but SIlver and others are working closely with health experts in Florida to make sure things go smoothly.

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Based on what they've heard so far, one positive test won't be the end-all for the NBA. If a player were to be diagnosed with COVID-19, the league knows the exact procedure to keep others safe.

“The view is that if we are testing every day and we are able to trace, in essence, the contacts the player has had," Silver said. "We are able to, in essence, contain that player and separate that from his team.”

The commissioner explained that the NBA is continuing to test on a daily basis, and that won't change anytime soon. The threat of coronavirus impacting the league's return is strong, but Silver and the NBA are confident that they'll be able to overcome any issues and have the season play out in a safe manner.

"The belief is we would not have to shut down if a single player tested positive," Silver said. 

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