BOSTON -- Maybe it was because the Wizards just didn't have the energy after a grueling six-game series with the Atlanta Hawks, but all were measured and respectful in their words about their heated rival Boston Celtics before Game 1 tips today.
They had a light walkthrough on Saturday, less than 24 hours after a 115-99 road victory expelled the Atlanta Hawks from the postseason.
"People want to call it a rivalry, whatever they want, it's not a rivalry," said John Wall, who got into a confrontation with Jae Crowder at TD Garden in January that led to both players being fined by the league office. "This is the first time we've played them in the playoffs."
They tied the season series at 2, with each team winning comfortably on their home floor but falling on the road.
Wall was ejected from the first meeting at Verizon Center after a flagrant foul on Marcus Smart. Last season, Smart broke Bradley Beal's nose and gave him a concussion with a blow to the face.
"It's basketball," Beal said. "We're not fighting out here. I don't think that's either team's intention to. We both play hard. We both are competitive. We both want to win. That's all it is. It's no dirty play out here from us and it's not going to be from them. We're going to keep it clean."
The Hawks series got more testy than expected as Markieff Morris and Paul Millsap clashed after Game 1 won by the Wizards. In Friday's closeout game, Kent Bazemore shoved Beal after he had a transition dunk and was prone in the air that led to three technicals being issued.
"No," Morris said when asked if there was ill feelings between the Wizards and Celtics. "Teams argue all the time. I wouldn't say there's bad blood. I'm good friends with Gerald Green."
Brooks was visibly upset after a 117-108 loss here on Jan. 18, when Crowder poked Wall in the nose with his index finger only to get slapped on the chin. The Celtics were only called for 10 total team fouls in a game that was loosely officiated. The Wizards only were called for 13.
Two weeks later, the Wizards wore all black in a Funeral Game to bury the Celitcs. They routed them 123-108 in D.C.
Brooks is past that blip on the radar of a 49-win season that has put the Wizards in the conference semifinals for the third time in four years. It's Brooks first season in Washington.
"I think both teams play hard. I have no problem playing hard," he said. "The rivalry, I don't know if it's a rivalry. When is the last time the teams played in the playoffs?"