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Gamesmanship Continues Ahead Of Wizards-Celtics Game 7

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Hours after Boston Celtics players wore all black to Game 6 in Washington, D.C. in an abortive attempt at a funeral for the Wizards’ season, Avery Bradley has doubled down on gamesmanship ahead of Game 7. Bradley told the Boston Globe that the Celtics are looking forward to facing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

While NBA players often deny paying attention to such head games by opposing teams, John Wall was refreshingly candid after Game 6 about his level of awareness. The all-black stunt was on his mind.

“It was kind of copycatting what we did,” said Wall, who was alerted by family members who saw social media posts of Celtics players’ arrival. “It was in my mind throughout the game that I didn’t want them to come here, wear all black, and basically call it a funeral and we lose at home.”

Despite dwelling on Boston’s off-court antics, Wall has been credited by teammates throughout the playoffs with being a source of focus and leadership for the Wizards.

“He brings [leadership] each and every day by example,” said Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal after Washington eliminated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. “Every time we step on the floor, he’s the voice. He’s the floor general. We’re all locked in, we’re all listening.”

For Wall’s part, he made it very clear immediately after his clutch three-pointer won Game 6 in Washington and forced a Game 7 in Boston that he wouldn’t spend a lot of time patting himself on the back.

“After tonight, I’m locked back in for Game 7,” said Wall. “I’m glad we got an opportunity to play for one more game.”

While Bradley is looking ahead to the conference finals, Wall and the Wizards seem focused on the task at hand. We’ll know after tonight’s Game 7 (8 PM EST) at TD Garden if that singular focus will be enough to overcome Boston’s home court advantage. Neither team has won on the other’s court this season and Washington hasn’t won in Boston since the 2014 regular season.

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About Buddy Grizzard

Buddy Grizzard

Buddy Grizzard has written for ESPN.com and BBallBreakdown and served as an editor for ESPN TrueHoop Network.