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The Wizards - Celtics rivalry has the potential to be great

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NBA: Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Every sports team needs a rival -- an opponent that brings the best out of a team and fuels a desire to completely annihilate them at their own game. It’s also fun to see how energized the fans are when the rival comes to town and how the fan bases engage in just as much trash talking as the players. Rivalries will forever be apart of sports culture.

When thinking of rivals of the Washington Wizards, the first team that comes to mind is the Cleveland Cavailers. From 2006-2008 these two teams traded hard fouls and trash talk during three consecutive highly competitive and entertaining first round playoff matchups. The rivalry even made its way to the hip-hop realm as JAY Z made a diss record aimed at DeShawn Stevenson. (FYI, its a very poor diss track in traditional diss record standards, but getting JAY Z to diss a NBA player, for no real reason might I add, is one of LeBron’s greatest/pettiest accomplishments.)

But that was nine years ago. The tension between these two teams is non-existent and Wizards’ fans have gotten over their hatred for James, though some (by some I mean myself) will never let that hurt go. Now that that rivalry is dead and buried with no signs of revival, it’s time to shift our attention to a new team we can root against for the next few seasons: the Boston Celtics.

There have been many physical incidents, dating back to last season, that shows that there is bad blood between these two teams. Here’s a quick timeline:

January 17, 2016: Former Wizards head coach, Randy Wittman, and Celtics forward Jae Crowder have an altercation during the game during which Crowder said Wittman called him “soft”. Crowder then went on to score the game-winning shot to help the Celtics squeak out a win in Washington.

January 26, 2016: Marcus Smart gives Bradley Beal a broken nose and concussion while scoring a layup.

November 9, 2016: Marcus Smart and John Wall get tangled up resulting in Wall throwing Smart to the floor and getting ejected. While heading to the locker room, Wall invited Smart to meet him “out back” after the game.

January 11, 2017: Marcus Smart tackles Bradley Beal and the two exchange words resulting in a technical foul for Beal (I’m still confused by that call). After the game, John Wall nearly slaps Jae Crowder’s dreads off his head in a brief scuffle. Smart and Crowder tried to see Wall in the locker room. Cops stood between the locker rooms after the game to make sure nothing escalated.

Two things are clear based on these events: The Wizards and Celtics are not very fond of each other, and Marcus Smart has a secret desire to join a fight club or be a wrestler. Physical altercations are essential to starting a rivalry. If there was a “How to Start a Rivalry for Dummies” rulebook, rule number one would be to fight. (Rule #2 would probably be make a joke about someone’s hair line.)

However, there is another factor in this saga that has elevated this beef to a new level. His name is Alfred Joel Horford.

We all know that Big Al chose the Celtics over the Wizards in a “wild finish” this offseason. Horford’s decision will sting for awhile and it gives fans a reason to dislike him. When the signing was announced, Jae Crowder saw fit to take shots at the Wizards.

He told Celtics writer Tom Westerholm that "[Horford] had Washington and some other teams looking at him, but we beat them four times this year. You don't want to go there." Marcin Gortat, being the polite, gentle giant that he is, decided not to retaliate with sneak disses of his own; but instead used the comments as bulletin board material.


With everything that’s transpired over the past year, the Wizards vs. Celtics has potential to be one of the best rivalries in the league.

Now, they just have to meet in the playoffs for this to be considered a true rivalry. With the way these two have been playing as of late and how weak the Eastern Conference is, chances are high that they will face off in the first round.

The Celtics, at best, will be a second or third seed in the playoffs -- a fourth seed at worst. The Wizards could potentially be a sixth or seventh seed; or they could snag the fifth spot, which could create a meeting in the first or second round of the playoffs With their history of mix-ups and trash talk, this rivalry will reach it’s boiling point come May. Hopefully no rappers will be involved this time.

Still, the Wizards aren’t a lock for the playoffs, yet. So in meantime, let’s just enjoy watching these two teams bark at each other for two more games this season.