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John Wall breaks down Game 6 shot and root of beef with Jae Crowder that sparked Celtics rivalry

John Wall breaks down Game 6 shot and root of beef with Jae Crowder that sparked Celtics rivalry

Three years ago Tuesday, John Wall drained a last-second shot in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics to give Washington the win.

The bucket was a big one for many reasons.  Not only was it clutch, but it helped the Wizards stay alive in the series and force a Game 7. It also had the added benefit of coming against the Celtics, a team that the Wizards had some bad-blood with at the time.

The mutual hatred both teams had for each other in 2017 was not created just from the playoff series alone, but rather from a saga of events that continuously fueled the fire. During a Facebook Live with Jason Smith, another member of the 2017 Washington team, Wall explained what started the rivalry in the first place.

Sparks initially began to fly on January 11, 2017, during a regular-season matchup between the two. In a game that the Wizards would lose 117-108, Wall and Celtics forward Jae Crowder chirped each other throughout the game. Wall mentioned that chirping from Crowder was nothing new to him, as he had even heard it in the offseason. Following the game, Crowder continued to talk when the teams were shaking hands, and Wall answered right back with words of his own.

The tension may have fizzled out right then and there if it wasn't for what Crowder did next.

“Then he touches my nose. I’m like, 'no, nobody is about to touch my nose,'" Wall said of the altercation. "So I gave him a little smack and he was like, 'we can meet in the back.'"

"So I went to the back like, okay, there’s nothing but curtains stopping us back here.”

Wall and Crowder would meet near the locker rooms to continue their quarrel, and both teams soon got involved as players from both sides got involved in the situation. Though nothing more transpired on that night, Wall knew it signified the beginning of the 'beef' with Boston.

“From that point forward I was like, you know what, this is the rivalry.”

Just a couple of weeks later, Wall and the Wizards continued the saga by opting to wear all-black outfits to a home game against the Celtics. Washington claimed it was because they were attending Boston's 'funeral' in what was the team's last regular-season meeting in Washington. The Wizards won 123-108, but it wouldn't be the last of the antics between the two. 

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After taking down the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, Wall and the Wizards knew that a date with the Celtics was up next. A back-and-forth series, Washington entered Game 6 on the brink of elimination at the hands of their rival. To up the stakes, Boston decided to replicate what the Wizards did in the regular season, wearing all black to the crucial playoff game.

That gesture didn't work out for the Celtics, and John Wall had everything to do with it, nailing the now-famous shot. Yet, it was a moment that was not planned to happen as it did.

With the Wizards trailing in the final few seconds, Scott Brooks drew up his usual last-second play which focused on getting Bradley Beal open for the shot. But as the clock neared the end of the game, Wall noticed the play wasn't working. So, he improvised. 

“I’m in the corner waiting, and I just see that he’s not getting open. It’s like 3.5, 4 seconds, I just run and get the ball from Otto [Porter], tip-toeing basically on the sideline," Wall described. ‘I’m just looking like, it’s either win or go home. I see Avery Bradley backing up. I know he’s a great on-ball defender, he’s been tough the whole series. It’s a shot I work on everyday and I just took a hesitation three.”

The reason Wall hesitated is that he said he noticed Beal getting open at the last second. But with no time to pass him the ball, he had to take the shot. It worked out pretty well. 

“So I take the shot, and it goes in," Wall said.

Though the Celtics would win the series in Game 7, the shot was the biggest of Wall's life. Coming against a team he was not fond of only made it that much sweeter.

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Which NBA players are sitting out NBA restart at Disney World?

Which NBA players are sitting out NBA restart at Disney World?

Between concerns over the rising number of coronavirus cases in Florida, upcoming free agency, inherent injury risks with playing after a four-month layoff and the issues Kyrie Irving has raised regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, it's understandable that some players may opt to sit out the unprecedented restart at Disney World. 

Players have until June 24 to notify their team that they aren't playing and we've already seen a few players opting to sit out. Here's a running list of NBA players who are reportedly not planning to play in Orlando later this summer.

DeAndre Jordan, Brookly Nets: Jordan announced himself that he tested positive for COVID-19 and because of it will be foregoing the restart in Orlando. 

Wilson Chandler, Brooklyn Nets: Siting the health and well-being of his family, Chandler informed the Nets he would not be participating in the season's restart, according to ESPN's Malika Andrews

Willie Cauley-Stein, Dallas Mavericks: According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Mavs' center is expecting the birth of his child in July, so he will not be going to Orlando.

Avery Bradley, Los Angeles Lakers: Bradley elected not to play in Orlando due to his six-year-old son's past struggles with respiratory illnesses. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, it was unlikely Bradley would've been medically cleared to enter the bubble with his family.  

DeMarcus Cousins, FA: Despite interest from multiple teams, Cousins reportedly plans to sit out the restart to continue his rehab from a torn ACL.

Trevor Ariza, Portland Trail Blazers: Ariza is reportedly involved in a custody case for his 12-year-old son. He decided not to participate in the NBA restart in order to be with his son during a one-month visitation period that coincided with the season schedule.

Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards: Bertans opted not to play in Florida to prevent injury before he hits free agency. Bertans is in line for a big contract and has torn his ACL twice in the past. 

John Wall, Washington Wizards: Some hoped the season's delay would mean Wall could return to the floor for a playoff run alongside Bradley Beal. Even though Wall has said he's 110% healthy, he remains focused on returning next season. 

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets: Similar to Wall, Durant was expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season with an Achilles injury and will not return despite being afforded extra time to recover. 

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets: Irving has stated he's against playing in Orlando amid the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, but he's also still recovering from a shoulder injury and is not expected to play. 

Bojan Bogdanovic, Utah Jazz: Bogdanovic underwent season-ending wrist surgery in May and will not play in Orlando, according to ESPN

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs: Aldridge will miss out on the season restart as well thanks to season-ending shoulder surgery, per ESPN.

Kelly Oubre Jr., Phoenix Suns: Oubre suffered a meniscus injury in March and underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his right knee.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Bradley Beal believes NBA restart could help, not distract from social justice reform

Bradley Beal believes NBA restart could help, not distract from social justice reform

Though he is undecided on whether to play in Orlando, Wizards star Bradley Beal does not believe the NBA's restart will be a distraction from the nationwide movement for social justice reform. 

Beal, whose own decision is more about his health, can see both sides, including that of Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard who have suggested NBA players should sit out to raise awareness for racial injustice. But Beal views it differently, knowing the potential the players have to continue the conversation when the spotlight is on them.

"I feel like we stopped playing basketball because of COVID. We didn't stop playing because of social justice, and I feel like we can still raise that awareness. We can still bring attention to what's going on in the world by using our platform by utilizing the names on the back of the jerseys and doing it until people get pissed off and get tired of seeing it. That's the message in which I think we're trying to push because that's the only real change that we're gonna be able to generate," he said. 

"We have to utilize our platform as athletes to speak out for those who are unheard, to be vocal, to show face, to be involved. I think we're able to do both, but I get it from both sides of those who think it's a distraction. I don't think it is. But I can see how it's portrayed that way during this time."

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Beal noted how his own financial situation and established platform put him in a different spot than other players who haven't achieved those things. He can forego the prorated salary if he doesn't play and still be well off. And as a two-time All-Star, he already has a name for himself and the ability to use that platform for change.

Other, less-accomplished players, however, can't yet say the same. 

"I get it from the standpoint from a guy who doesn't make a lot of money who may need this. I get it from the guys who want to utilize this money to give back to their communities [and help their families]. I [also] look at it from the standpoint of the guys who just want to focus on straight social justice," Beal said.

RELATED: BEAL UNDECIDED ON PLAYING IN RESTART

Beal also said he "fully" understands the decision made by Mystics guard Natasha Cloud to sit out. Cloud and Beal are friends and have worked together to write statements and organize events between their teams for social justice awareness. The Wizards and Mystics marched together on Juneteenth last month and before they started walking, Beal and Cloud addressed the crowd.

Cloud has opted out of the 2020 WNBA season due to focus on social justice reform.

"It's a tough time we're in," he said.

Beal indicated that whether he plays or not, he will be active in helping his fellow NBA players and the league continue to get the message out. He mentioned both Washington, D.C. and his hometown of St. Louis, MO, with plans to interact with local officials and lawmakers to express his beliefs on the matter.

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