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Jae Crowder: Looking ahead to showdown with Wizards contributes to Celtics' loss to Sixers

Jae Crowder: Looking ahead to showdown with Wizards contributes to Celtics' loss to Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers have been a thorn in the side of the Wizards all season, winning 2 of 3 meetings. Sunday, they did them a big favor by coming from 13 points down to upset the Boston Celtics.

This sets the stage for Monday’s pivotal matchup when the No. 3 Wizards play at the Celtics. They lead the season series 2-1 and a victory would give them the tiebreaker in the event they have the same records going into the playoffs.

“We were talking about, a few guys overlooking this game. I think so, looking forward to the Washington game,” Jae Crowder told reporters after a 105-99 loss for Boston. “That’s what happens when you overlook an opponent, especially these guys.”

The Wizards (42-27) lost 96-93 to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday to drop two games out of the No. 2 spot occupied by Boston. But the loss to the Sixers puts the Celtics (44-26) just one game ahead in the loss column.

Boston played the last two games without Isaiah Thomas who stayed behind on the road trip because of a bruised knee.

The Sixers had to make the third-quarter comeback without Jahlil Okafor, who left with soreness in his right knee.

According to CSNPhilly.com’s Jessica Camerato, the Sixers Insider, Okafor will be further evaluated.

MORE WIZARDS: Wall tired of "BS technical fouls"

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Morning tip: Wizards skip 'rivalry' chatter about Celtics, offer praise before Game 1

Morning tip: Wizards skip 'rivalry' chatter about Celtics, offer praise before Game 1

BOSTON -- Maybe it was because the Wizards just didn't have the energy after a grueling six-game series with the Atlanta Hawks, but all were measured and respectful in their words about their heated rival Boston Celtics before Game 1 tips today.

They had a light walkthrough on Saturday, less than 24 hours after a 115-99 road victory expelled the Atlanta Hawks from the postseason. 

"People want to call it a rivalry, whatever they want, it's not a rivalry," said John Wall, who got into a confrontation with Jae Crowder at TD Garden in January that led to both players being fined by the league office. "This is the first time we've played them in the playoffs."

They tied the season series at 2, with each team winning comfortably on their home floor but falling on the road. 

Wall was ejected from the first meeting at Verizon Center after a flagrant foul on Marcus Smart. Last season, Smart broke Bradley Beal's nose and gave him a concussion with a blow to the face.

"It's basketball," Beal said. "We're not fighting out here. I don't think that's either team's intention to. We both play hard. We both are competitive. We both want to win.  That's all it is. It's no dirty play out here from us and it's not going to be from them. We're going to keep it clean."

[RELATED: Keys to look for in Wizards-Celtics semifinal series]

The Hawks series got more testy than expected as Markieff Morris and Paul Millsap clashed after Game 1 won by the Wizards. In Friday's closeout game, Kent Bazemore shoved Beal after he had a transition dunk and was prone in the air that led to three technicals being issued.

"No," Morris said when asked if there was ill feelings between the Wizards and Celtics. "Teams argue all the time. I wouldn't say there's bad blood. I'm good friends with Gerald Green."

Brooks was visibly upset after a 117-108 loss here on Jan. 18, when Crowder poked Wall in the nose with his index finger only to get slapped on the chin. The Celtics were only called for 10 total team fouls in a game that was loosely officiated. The Wizards only were called for 13. 

Two weeks later, the Wizards wore all black in a Funeral Game to bury the Celitcs. They routed them 123-108 in D.C. 

Brooks is past that blip on the radar of a 49-win season that has put the Wizards in the conference semifinals for the third time in four years. It's Brooks first season in Washington. 

"I think both teams play hard. I have no problem playing hard," he said. "The rivalry, I don't know if it's a rivalry. When is the last time the teams played in the playoffs?"

[RELATED: A rundown of the history between Wizards and Celtics]

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NBA Playoffs 2017 Wizards at Celtics Game 1: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

NBA Playoffs 2017 Wizards at Celtics Game 1: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their second round series in the 2017 NBA Playoffs on Sunday afternoon.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

GAME 1: WASHINGTON WIZARDS at BOSTON CELTICS

Where: TD Garden
Tip-off: 1 p.m.
TV: ABC (coverage begins at 12 p.m. on CSN)
Live stream: ESPN.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Mahinmi remains out

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks revealed on Saturday in Boston that backup center Ian Mahinmi will remain out for at least one more game as he continues to deal with a left calf strain. The fact he is out isn't all that surprising, despite the fact Mahinmi himself expressed hope he would be back before the end of their previous series against the Hawks. That said, his absence could continue to have a profound effect on the Wizards.

That was seen in just about every game against the Hawks, as even the slightest of foul trouble for big men Markieff Morris or Marcin Gortat put them in a bind. Jason Smith is dealing with a left calf strain of his own and beyond them they are thin in their frontcourt. As long as Mahinmi remains out, any quick foul for Morris or Gortat will have Wizards fan sweating.

[RELATED: 5 biggest Wizards-Celtics storylines to watch]

Can Wizards steal one?

The Wizards will play this series without the home court advantage they enjoyed in the first round against Atlanta. That means they will have to steal one on the road at some point to take control of this series. 

Against the Hawks, winning on the road proved difficult until Game 6. The Wizards lost both of their first two road games and if they do that again this time around it could spell trouble as they would face an 0-2 deficit.

[RELATED: Wall has gotten over Horford choosing Celtics]

Thomas is dealing with a lot

The Celtics' best player, Isaiah Thomas, is going through some very tough times due to the death of his sister, Chyna, on April 15. Thomas and the Celtics were able to make it through the first round, but clearly it was not easy for Thomas who is dealing with an unimaginable loss. 

Now, for Game 1, he has to also deal with a very difficult travel schedule. Thomas flew home to attend her funeral on Saturday, which took place in Washington state. He will have to fly all the way across the country to Boston for Game 1 on Sunday, which starts early at 1 p.m. That is a tough turnaround and it could conceivably affect him as he goes up against John Wall, one of the NBA's best point guards.

[RELATED: How does trash talking in the NBA compare to other sports?]