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Wizards walk the walk after talking plenty about Celtics

Wizards walk the walk after talking plenty about Celtics

The excitement couldn't be contained by the court, so as the Wizards exited with a season-high 123 points in a blowout of the Boston Celtics, second-year forward Kelly Oubre shouted -- though not in these exact words -- "I told you so."

It was just a regular-season game, but Paul Pierce would be proud of his old team led by a mid-20s backcourt.

The Wizards (25-20) were salty over what transpired 13 days ago at TD Garden. Then, the Celtics came back to win 117-108 but played what Otto Porter called "dirty" basketball. They responded by following through on a promise to wear all back at Verizon Center, with John Wall calling it a "funeral" game.

They knocked their nemesis dead behind a game-high 31 points from Bradley Beal and Wall with 27 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. And Oubre locked down Isaiah Thomas, who burned them for 20 fourth-quarter points on Jan. 11, as he was held to four points on 1-for-7 shooting this time.

"We said it in the media and it kind of blew out of proportion," said Oubre, who had 11 points as three of his four made field goals came from the three-point arc. "Everybody was behind everybody. Me and John were the faces of it. We backed it up and got the win. The Celtics are a great team and a great organization. We just gave our fans something to look forward to when they come to the house."

Because of the chatter, it was a must-win game though there's still a lot of basketball to be played. Oubre helped create it following a 109-99 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. All-black games are rare, but when they occur it's usually in the playoffs.

The N.Y. Knicks did it in a potential close-out Game 5 in 2013 and were humiliated by losing. Their coach at the time, Mike Woodson, was irate. Unknown to many at the time, the Dallas Mavericks had an all-black Game 6 for the NBA championship vs. the Miami Heat. Unlike the Knicks, they didn't let it be known but players packed only one suit for the trip when they cut short the run of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at American Airlines Arena. 

Like Pierce believed about the Toronto Raptors before the Wizards began a first-round series with them in 2015, these Wizards don't believe the Celtics are a better team. Pierce was correct. Despite their regular-season difficulty beating Toronto, they swept them 4-0. The jury is still out on this budding rivalry but the Wizards lead the season series 2-1. They beat Boston here on Nov. 9 by 25.

"The hype around the game obviously was probably bigger than normal but it wasn't moreso in the locker room," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "We were focused on scouting them like we always do and we felt that we made some mistakes down the stretch the last time we played them that we wanted to correct."

RELATED: TAKEAWAYS FROM WIZARDS' WIN OVER CELTICS

Wall erupted for 11 points in the third quarter, five coming after Boston had got the deficit down to 84-78. When the Wizards' lead was trimmed to 101-93 midway through the fourth quarter, Beal scored 11 of the Wizards' 13 points in a 3:30 stretch to put the game away.

Instead of Wall clashing with Jae Crowder at the end of this game, which is what happened in Boston and carried into the locker rooms, it was Marcus Smart who was arguing with his own coaching staff. 

The Wizards have won both games of a back-to-back for the second time in two weeks after not doing that previously this season. While this is only one win, given the importance they placed on this game they had to win. And though Boston laughed it off as silly, they treated it with extra importance, too.

"We are not (a tough team) and that's the problem," Smart said. "Last year, we were the team that guys hated to play against. Now this year everybody wants to play us because we are not doing everything that we used to do on the defensive end."

The Wizards have been on a roll. They scored 66 first-half points which marked the fifth time they've accomplished the feat in the last six games. Markieff Morris had his fifth double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Marcin Gortat made 7 of 8 shots for 16 points and eight rebounds. 

"It was a team thing. We just wanted to have fun," said Beal after making 12 of 18 shots. "It was nothing personal. Of course it was subliminal."

When Porter entered the locker room before the game, his Men In Black suit, complete with black shades, drew cheers from his teammates. They didn't fear the position they put themselves in, with the national attention to the outcome for this game greater than what they faced in a national TV game last week at Madison Square Garden. 

"It's going to be pressure. Yeah, I think it was," Wall said of the decision to wear all black. "They saw everything that we said and we heard what they said. I think it was just a great, clean game today. Nobody did anything dirty. To teams competed today and tried to get a win."

Morris sat at his locker Jan. 11 with disgust on his face. Not only had they lost the game but the Wizards allowed them to get under their skin. They returned the favor. 

"We just wanted to be professional about it," said Morris, who picked up his sixth technical foul after tangling with Crowder on the free-throw line. "We said a lot by wearing all black. Just wanted to keep it on the court, go out there and play hard and try to get the (win)."

The Wizards don't play again until Friday at the Atlanta Hawks, a team that was their most fierce rival after their East semifinals series two years ago. A win there and they go up 2-1 in that season series, too. They play the Celtics one last time, March 20 on the road. 

Any new motivational techniques on the horizon for the Wizards?

"If that's what you all want, we'll give it to you all," Morris said. "Wear all white next game."

RELATED: 5 (10) MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WIZARDS' BIG WIN

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

WASHINGTON -- It is not often you see a rookie find initial success in the NBA to the degree Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has, already with borderline All-Star numbers at the age of 20. And oftentimes, opponents are careful throwing out player comparisons for guys his age, wanting to see more before they anoint anyone.

Morant, though, is a different case and questions from media members at Wizards practice this week as the team gets set to face him for the first time naturally led to parallels to great players. On Thursday, Brooks brought up unprompted how much Morant reminds him of Russell Westbrook, his former player in Oklahoma City.

And on Friday, Bradley Beal invoked a teammate of his when breaking down what makes Morant so good.

"He loves to get up and down. He's really fast with the ball. It reminds you of John [Wall] in a lot of ways. He plays with his pace," Beal said.

Through 19 games this season, Morant is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 42.2 percent from three on 2.2 attempts.

The threes have been surprising to most, as he shot a relatively modest 36.3 percent his final year in college at Murray State. But also surprising maybe just how lethal he has been at attacking the rim.

Sure, that was a big part of his game in college. But this is the NBA where athletes are much bigger and stronger. And he isn't the biggest guy either, weighing in at 175 pounds according to Basketball-Reference.

But despite lacking in size, he has shown an ability to finish through contact rarely seen from any player.

"I think he has a no-fear type of mentality. So, you have to respect his aggressiveness," Beal said. "He'll get respect from a lot of players in the league, a lot of refs in the league because of his aggressiveness and... with all the posters he has. So, he's an assassin. You gotta respect his game."

Beal likely won't draw the defensive assignment on Morant. That will probably go to Ish Smith and back-up point guard Chris Chiozza, who is with the team while Isaiah Thomas recovers from a left calf injury.

Beal knows it is going to be tough for the whole Wizards team to contain Morant. He said the trick will be trying to stay in front of him, though he knows that is easier said than done.

Really, Morant is such a unique player that the Wizards can only gameplan and prepare so much until they actually experience facing him for the first time.

"He's gonna be a handful," Beal said.

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