Wizards, Celtics set to renew feisty rivalry

BOSTON -- It is one of sports' most-often used cliches: "These teams don't like each other."

The Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics don't like each other. At all.

They finish their season series at TD Garden on Monday night fighting for the second (and perhaps even the first) spot in the Eastern Conference -- and again ready to do something to make the other side angry.

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The Wizards have beaten Boston twice this season, both times in Washington. On Nov. 9, John Wall was ejected for a hit on Marcus Smart. On Jan. 24, the Wizards players arrived at work wearing funeral black -- this after the teams caused members of the Boston police to be in the hallway between the dressing rooms after a Celtics win.

On Sunday, the Celtics, playing their second straight game without Isaiah Thomas, might have been looking ahead when they lost 105-99 to the battered and lowly 76rs in Philadelphia.

"I think a few guys were overlooking today's game, looking forward to the Washington game," Boston's Jae Crowder said after the loss.

Thomas has a bruised right knee that might keep him out of action against Washington, too.

The Celtics, who open a six-game homestand Monday night and play nine of their last 12 at home, left Philadelphia just one ahead of Washington in the loss column for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics have won 10 of their last 11 at home, where they are 23-9 on the season.

The Wizards have followed a five-game winning streak with three losses in the last four games, including a 98-93 defeat Saturday night at Charlotte. The one win in the four games came with Wall dishing out a career-high 20 assists -- and thinking he easily could have had 26.

Scott Skiles owns the NBA record of 30 assists in a game.

"I love passing the ball. I love getting my teammates involved," Wall said. "My ultimate goal is to try to break the record."

Wall and Charlotte's Frank Kaminsky were hit with double technicals during that game. Wall not thrilled with the call.

"I see guys cussing refs out and taking the ball from refs and they're not getting technical fouls," Wall said. "They need to stop showing favoritism to certain players. If you are going to give techs out, be consistent both ways it."

Wall was unhappy after his 14th technical of the season, two shy of the mandatory one-game suspension.

"It was just a back-and-forth talk. Just a common talk you have, and (referee) Danny (Crawford) just came in and said, 'Technical fouls,'" Wall said. "I've heard worse than that before and vulgar words have been said, which weren't said then, and then they just slap a technical foul. I'm getting tired of it."

The Celtics were on the brink of tying an NBA record when they visited Brooklyn on Friday night. They had registered 26 straight games with at least 10 3-pointers, one shy of the mark set by the Houston Rockets earlier this season. But without Thomas, they were 7 of 29 Friday to end the streak (though they did win the game).

Boston was 6 of 29 from behind the arc Sunday and is a combined 13 of 58 in the past two games.