Despite the Boston Celtics‘ all-black pregame attire, Wall’s 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds to play delivered Friday’s last rites as the Wizards forced a Game 7.
“Don’t come to my city, wearing all black, talking about a funeral,” Wall told ESPN on the court after the 92-91 win.
With a chance to close out the Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Celtics arrived at the Verizon Center nearly all decked out in black suits, shirts, pants and vests.
“I didn’t know that they wore all black today,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “But it doesn’t faze us. It is what it is. They came in and played hard. We’re not going to take anything from them.”
Wall jumped onto the scorer’s table and screamed in celebration after the final buzzer.
“It was just funny to me,” Wall told reporters of the Celtics’ attire. “I mean, talking to family and friends, they get to see what’s happening on social media. I try to stay off it … and they just said they were gonna wear all black, so we knew it was kind of copy-catting what we did. It was in my mind throughout the game. I didn’t want them to come here in all black and basically call it a funeral and we lose at home. We made some plays and the ball went our way at the end, and now we get to force a Game 7 at their place.”
The Wizards had done the same before a regular-season meeting in January that was dubbed the “funeral game.”
“I’m going to talk to my lawyers,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said in his postgame news conference, laughing. “I think we have that trademarked. That’s our thing.”
Celtics forward Jae Crowder admitted it was something the team devised “in-house,” but the rest of his teammates still denied it was a planned stunt.
“They’re just trying to be like us, man. They want to be us so bad,” Wizards forward Markieff Morris said. “But there’s only one Death Row DC, and they can’t do it like we can do it.”
Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, at the podium in his all-black gear, was asked if he had second thoughts about the dress code.
“Second thoughts? No, I wear black all the time,” Thomas said. “I’m the first one in this gym, too, so I didn’t see nobody else wearing black.”
Thomas was asked, then, if it was simply a coincidence.
“I guess so,” Thomas said. “Call it what you want.”
Thomas said he didn’t think it inspired the Wizards.
“It’s the playoffs, you should be motivated by anything,” Thomas said. “I don’t think they were just motivated by that. It’s Game 6, their season was on the line, so they should have been motivated by everything else, just like we’re motivated for Game 7. It’s the playoffs, that’s all I can say.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens, arriving with a gray suit, joked before the game that if the all-black attire was planned, he was not told.
“I’m not on the text chain — by design,” Stevens said to laughter. “I still haven’t heard anybody talk about it, so I don’t even know what the deal is. I’m being dead honest. Like, I didn’t hear anybody talk about it. There weren’t that many guys on the bus that I rode over with, then I just walked in there, and talking about the Wizards and how to prepare for this game.
“No, they don’t consult me on fashion, surprisingly, nor do I get the memo.”
Brooks laughed off the matter before the game, as well.
“I don’t care what they wear. I really don’t care,” Brooks said. “It’s about playing good basketball on the court. It’s about playing together. It’s about imposing our will on them and vice versa. Wearing black, it’s great, it’s a great color. Makes me look thin, right?”
Information from ESPN’s Chris Forsberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.