WASHINGTON — The Wizards aren’t one of the more contentious teams in the NBA, but they’re also not known to back down. The Boston Celtics have a similar reputation. It also doesn’t help that the teams definitely don’t like each other.
First, there was the time last season when Smart elbowed Wizards guard Bradley Beal in the face, breaking his nose and giving him a concussion.
Either as a reaction to that or for another reason entirely, John Wall took a shot on Smart when the two teams met earlier this season, earning him an ejection in the waning minutes of a Wizards rout.
There were several other incidents last season between these teams, such as when Celtics wing Jae Crowder accused then-Wizards coach Randy Wittman of cursing at him from the bench. And there was the time that Wall emphatically rejected Crowder’s shot and let him know about it.
That brings us to Wednesday night, when the Wizards were in Boston. During the third quarter, Smart and Beal got tangled up along the baseline when the big Celtics guard appeared to tackle his Wizards counterpart.
A personal foul was called on Smart for the play, but for whatever reason, Beal was given a technical foul. Perhaps he said something he shouldn’t have after the initial incident, but the video shows very little wrongdoing by Beal.
Shortly after the Celtics emerged with a 117-108 win, a scuffle ensued on the court. It started when Crowder approached Wall around halfcourt.
Wall, certainly not a man lacking confidence, had just finished one of the worst shooting performances of his career, going 4-for-17 with just nine points in the loss and was likely not in the best of moods. It’s worth noting Wall’s hand swelled up after he landed on his wrist earlier in the night, likely impacting his shooting ability.
Crowder appeared to walk by while saying something to Wall who, with a smirk on his face, said something Crowder evidently didn’t like. The Celtics forward immediately got up in Wall’s face, and when Wall didn’t back down, Crowder jammed his finger up and into Wall’s face, poking him in the nose.
Wall didn’t take kind to that and responded with a blindingly quick slap to Crowder’s face, and then a scrum ensued.
While the scuffle initiated with Wall and Crowder, the Beal and Smart subplot continued throughout the shoving and shouting.
After the mess at halfcourt was cleaned up, there were still a final jab to be taken by, of all people, soft-spoken Wizards wing Otto Porter.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the police showed up to keep things on an even keel after it all.
It’s worth noting these two teams play again on Jan. 24, and then for the final time this season on March 20.
While we’re on the subject, let’s not forget one of the best pokes in Wizards history, when legendary forward Paul Pierce reminded then-Chicago Bulls big man Joakim Noah who really is The Truth.
More like the National Booping Association, am I right? (Sorry.)