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By wearing black, Wizards are paying Celtics highest compliment 01.24.17 at 4:05 pm ET
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In November, Wizards guard John Wall had to be restrained from going after the Celtics, including Marcus Smart. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

In November, Wizards guard John Wall had to be restrained from going after the Celtics, including Marcus Smart. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics scored their biggest victory of the season Tuesday before they even stepped onto the court. The Wizards plan to wear black to their game against the C’s, giving this team an aura of intimidation it has lacked since Kevin Garnett’s prime.

According to the Washington Post, Wizards guard Bradley Beal came up with the idea. Tensions between the two clubs rose following the Celtics’ victory over the Wizards earlier this month, when Jae Crowder and John Wall got into an on-court altercation. The verbal sparring continued as they walked to their respective locker rooms, and police were called to stand guard.

“We’re wearing all black to the game,” Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. said. “So you know where we’re going with that. … We’re wearing all black to the game. It’s a memo that the team is giving away. We’re ready for whatever, man. Round three, let’s get it.”

Isaiah Thomas, who scored 20 points points in the fourth quarter against the Wizards Jan. 11, took the news in stride.

“That’s cute that they’re wearing all black. It’s not a Game 7. It’s not the playoffs,” he said. “I saw the funeral and all black thing last night and I just laughed about it.”

The last time these teams met, Thomas led all scorers with 38 points. Wall, who’s long been considered one of the most talented guards in the league, went 4-for-21 and dropped a season-low nine points in the loss. On Tuesday, Wall said the Wizards were dressing for a “funeral.”

When the Giants dressed in black prior to Super Bowl 42, they were able to back up their wardrobe –– thanks to a dominant pass rush and an all-time great catch by David Tyree. But this stunt from the Wizards seems to channel the 2012 Texans, who wore letterman’s jackets to Gillette Stadium and were promptly blown out by 28 points.

In a lot of respects, it’s even more pathetic than what the Texans did. At the time, Houston was an 11-1 team and wanted to make a statement heading into an important late-season Monday night game in Foxboro. The 24-20 Wizards, meanwhile, are a middling club that’s gearing up for a routine midseason matchup.

Oh, and they’re the home team. That’s right: the Wizards are letting the Celtics get into their heads in their own building. That’s not cute. It’s sad.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jae Crowder, John Wall, Marcus Smart
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 9: Celtics miss out on Kevin Love, draft Marcus Smart, James Young 12.26.14 at 5:14 pm ET
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Over the final days of the year, will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 9: Celtics miss out on Kevin Love, draft Marcus Smart and James Young. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Marcus Smart (left) and James Young (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The Celtics used their two 2014 first-round draft picks on guards Marcus Smart (left) and James Young. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Throughout the summer of 2014, Celtics fans were teased at the possibility of another superstar power forward landing in Boston, once again via a trade with the Timberwolves.

All-Star power forward Kevin Love was on the market, and after registering a career high in points (26.1) while pulling down 12.5 boards per game during the 2013-14 season, the UCLA product was in high demand for a multitude of teams.

The Celtics seemed to have the resources to net Love, with multiple first-round picks — including the sixth overall selection of the 2014 draft — at their disposal, as well as young tradable assets in power forwards Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk.

The “Summer of Love” continued to grow into hysteria as the weeks ticked closer and closer to the draft — held on June 26. Excitement was at a fever pitch for Celtics fans on June 1, as Love was spotted at Fenway Park.

Photos later emerged of Love meeting with C’s captain Rajon Rondo, leading many to believe than the California native was scouting out one of his new potential destinations.

Even other athletes joined in on the news of Love’s appearance at Fenway, with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz sending his own recruiting pitch to the Timberwolves big man via Twitter.

Despite the Celtics‘ interest in Love, other teams soon threw their names into the bidding, with squads such as the Warriors and Bulls linked to the 25-year-old All-Star. Reports of potential deals centered on the Bulls’ Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott, as well as Minnesota’s reported interest in Golden State’s Klay Thompson, quickly dispelling any notion that the Celtics were the lone wolf in terms of negotiations for Love.

While many teams continued to harangue the Timberwolves throughout the summer, no deal was put in place by the time of the draft, leaving the Celtics to make their two first-round selections (sixth and 17th overall).

With the sixth pick, Boston selected Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart, who averaged 18 points and 5.8 assists per game during his sophomore campaign with the Cowboys.

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart apologizes after receiving 3-game suspension for pushing fan 02.10.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Bucks, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Rockets at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Providence at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Iowa State at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Miami at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Maryland at Virginia, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Olympics: Men’s speedskating, 7:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s hockey, Finland vs. Canada, 10 a.m. (MSNBC)
Olympics: Women’s luge, women’s curling, 11:15 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s speedskating, men’s biathlon, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling, United State vs. Norway, 5 p.m. (CNBC)
Olympics: Women’s Alpine, men’s freestyle skiing, men’s short-track speed skating, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Women’s short-track speed skating, women’s luge, 12:05 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Women’s curling, United States vs. Russia, 3 a.m. (NBCSN)


— While Jabari Parker was wowing Bostonians with his performance in Duke’s rout of Boston College on Saturday, another likely top-five NBA draft pick was having a tough day in Lubbock, Texas.

Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart got in a confrontation with a Texas Tech fan during the Cowboys’ loss, and on Sunday the sophomore was suspended by the Big 12 Conference for his team’s next three games.

Smart, who claimed the fan uttered a racial slur, apologized Sunday for his actions.

“This is not how I conduct myself,” Smart said. “This is not how the program is run. This is not how I was raised. I let my emotions get the best of me. It’s something I’ll have to learn from, a lesson I’ll have to learn from. The consequences that are coming with it — I’m taking full responsibility. No fingers pointing — this is all upon me.”

The incident occurred late in the game, when Smart tumbled into the stands behind the basket after trying to block a shot. As he was helped to his feet, a Texas Tech fan shouted at him. Smart pushed the fan with both hands before being pulled away by his teammates.

The fan, Jeff Orr, denied using a racial term but agreed to skip all remaining Texas Tech games this season.

“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Tubby Smith and the Texas Tech men’s basketball program,” Orr said in a statement. “My actions [Saturday] night were inappropriate and do not reflect myself or Texas Tech — a university I love dearly. I regret calling Mr. Smart a ‘piece of crap,’ but I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind.”

— One of the region’s coaching giants died Sunday, when former longtime Arlington High hockey and football coach Ed Burns passed away at the age of 93.

“It’s a sad day in Arlington for sure,” current Arlington hockey coach John Messuri told The Boston Globe. “He has a special place in everyone’s heart, and not just in Arlington. It was an annual event to go see Ed and his teams at the Garden. It was almost part of the fabric of New England.”

A three-sport star at Arlington High in the late 1930s who went on to play football, hockey and baseball at Boston College — he was drafted by the NFL (Steelers) and MLB (Phillies) — Burns coached hockey at Arlington for 50 years and went 695-167-62, winning five state titles while recording just one losing season. He was head coach of the Spy Ponders football program for 21 years, going 110-64-10.

Among his many honors, Burns is a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, the Massachusetts Football Hall of Fame, the Boston College Hall of Fame.

— Here’s a nice story out of Pennsylvania. A senior manager for the boys basketball team at Bensalem High, Kevin Grow, has Down syndrome. He was given the chance to play in a game Saturday — and the opposition from Neshaminy generously gave him a little space — and he came through with a layup. Grow then proceeded to hit four 3-pointers, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

“It felt like a movie,” said coach John Mullin.

Grow finished with a game-high 14 points in his team’s 64-40 victory.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 10, 1989, which former Providence College star who went on to a successful NBA coaching career was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame?

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