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Top Stories of the Week: The Wizards continue hot streak, Delle Donne’s desire to be in D.C. dominate headlines

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I love D.C. sports right now!

Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

We’re now entering the second half of the 2016-17 NBA season. There’s a lot for the Wizards to be proud of in the last few weeks, and last week was no different. On top of all that, the Mystics could very well get some great news next week. Is Washington, D.C. really becoming a “top tier basketball city” before our eyes?

I don’t have a solid answer to that questions, but maybe this past week’s storylines will help guide you in the right direction one way or another.

The Wizards are en fuego!

Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Wizards are 26-20, in striking distance of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Here’s what went down:

  • Last Saturday, the Wizards lost 113-112 to the Pistons on the road. Marcus Morris made a buzzer beating put back shot to give Motown the victory. That said, the Wizards still hung in there for the most part.
  • Then last Monday, the Wizards traveled to Charlotte where they beat the Hornets 109-99. Bradley Beal snapped out of a shooting slump as he made four of nine threes in the win.
  • On the following day, the Wizards played the Celtics in a game that received a bunch of media buzz due to the teams’ previous spats this season and last. The Wizards won the game, 123-108.
  • Finally, the Wizards blew out the Hawks, 112-86 Friday night on the road. It made one Atlanta resident happy.

The Wizards and Celtics rivalry is gaining steam!

NBA: Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Before Tuesday’s win, the Wizards decided to wear all black to the game, where they called it a “funeral.” I didn’t exactly like the antics because it set the Wizards up for ridicule if they were to lose.

Fortunately, they won the game so let’s focus on the positives from the win. It was a confidence booster and a moment of team solidarity which Jesse Lyles noted before the game, and Mike Sykes did after.

The Celtics weren’t in this game at all. But that doesn’t mean that their top players had a “we’ll get ‘em next time” mentality. Marcus Smart yelled at assistant coaches toward the end of the game when they wouldn’t let him return. He was so mad that after the game, he punched hole into the wall in the visiting team’s / Mystics locker room — though it wasn’t clear who knew it at the time this tweet was found:

To be fair to Smart, he did take responsibility (kinda) for punching the wall (no pun intended to John.)

The national folks aren’t necessarily calling the Wizards vs. Celtics rivalry a big deal. Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation NBA called the rivalry “petty” and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal either. I get that this isn’t like Lakers vs. Celtics in the ‘60’s or the current Cavaliers vs. Warriors matchups. But these two teams are both rather young, are well-coached, and are in a similar spot right now as they fight for homecourt advantage in the playoffs.

Elena Delle Donne for Stefanie Dolson and the Mystics’ 2017 WNBA Draft pick?

USA Select Team v United States Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

It isn’t too often when WNBA superstars in their prime are on the trade block. It’s even less often when they’re demanding to play for the Mystics since last year, if not longer.

We knew last December that Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne was thinking about leaving, but we didn’t hear of anything concrete until the weekend. A number of reports around the league state that the Mystics are trying to acquire Delle Donne in exchange for center Stefanie Dolson and the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 Draft. It’s possible that another player — probably Kahleah Copper — will be a sweetener in what should be 2017’s blockbuster deal.

If you think that this is an uneven trade, it is. But the Sky doesn’t have too many options in order to get some value in return for their franchise player. They apparently tried to acquire Emma Meesseman (and perhaps other assets like the 2017 Draft pick) in exchange for Delle Donne, but those talks were shut down.

John Wall’s an All-Star, but no other player is getting love

NBA All-Star Game 2016 Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

As you might expect, a player who is averaging 20 points and 10 assists a game should be a All-Star. Wall got the nod on Thursday to be a reserve. It’s his fourth appearance to the midseason classic.

Unfortunately, he is the only Wizards player who made it. Bradley Beal is also having a career year, but missed the cut since ... there were just a ton of great guards in the East. And to make matters somewhat worse, Kelly Oubre wasn’t named to the Rising Stars Challenge.

It’s a bit frustrating that other players haven’t received honors like Wall has this season. But there’s a silver lining to this.

The Wizards are getting much more national attention

When a team turns around a 2-8 start to a 25-20 record overall with a 14 home game winning streak, that’s impressive. People are going to pay attention.

The same Stephen A. Smith who criticized the Wizards vs. Celtics rivalry also gave Wall praise on his satellite radio show Thursday afternoon. In fact, Smith said he was “sick and tired” of Wall not getting enough national attention before interviewing the All-Star.

Wall was also on TNT’s pregame show Thursday night where he said that the Wizards can make the Eastern Conference Finals this season. You can watch a video below, and read more from Scott Allen of the Washington Post here.

And finally, we have another game on TNT! The Cavaliers game on February 6 has been flexed in, while the Lakers and Knicks game was flexed out.

Hopefully, the good vibes stay that way for awhile.

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And that’s it for this week! If you have another link you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or in a FanPost. Enjoy the rest of this weekend!