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The Wizards laid the Celtics’ recent success against them to rest

That and more in Wednesday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. Let's basketball!

PUTTING THE UNREAL IN ... WAIT THIS WON'T WORK: The Wizards opened themselves up for ridicule when they announced they'd wear all-black before their game against the Celtics. Lose, and the gambit, while entertaining for a mid-January back-to-back, would look silly. But they backed up their talk with an emphatic victory over their new rivals, led by terrific performances from John Wall and Bradley Beal. Guess who has the best record in the East since Dec. 1? Yup, it's the Wizards. And since I need to take this moment to gloat, I'm typing this sentence in all black.

Michael Sykes of Bullets Forever has terrific reporting from the scene. We'll have more on the Wizards shortly.

SPEAKING OF TEAMS ON THE RISE: The Timberwolves won again, thanks to this difficult Andrew Wiggins fadeaway at the buzzer. They're just 2.5 games back of the No. 8 seed in the West. Is it still a disappointing season if you make the playoffs while winning 35 games?

SCORES

Spurs 108 Raptors 106

Clippers 110 76ers 121

Celtics 108 Wizards 123

Bulls 100 Magic 92

Jazz 93 Nuggets 103

Timberwolves 112 Suns 111

PROCESS THIS: The Sixers won again, this time against the Clippers in Blake Griffin's return. I'm just gonna slide this stat here.

THIS IS NO SUBTWEET: It wouldn't be a Cavaliers season without a little bit of drama. After losing to New Orleans on Monday, a frustrated LeBron James implored the front office to get him more help if they want to repeat as champions. He then went on Twitter to "clarify" his comments, but he essentially just repeated them with nicer language. I've heard some refer to these as subtweets, but there was no "sub" about them. They were about as direct as you can be.

TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE FOR BOSTON ... Marcus Smart and an assistant coach got into a shouting match near the end of their loss in D.C. (Smart has apologized).

THE MASCOTS STRIKE BACK: Stuff the Magic Dragon landed a critical blow in the mascot's ongoing war with Robin Lopez.

*MARV ALBERT VOICE* A SPECTACULAR MOVE: Watch this Jamal Murray layup. Remind you of a certain famous iconic play?

BRILLIANT: Korean Basketball League All-Stars took time out of their busy exhibition game to imitate the Lakers' defense do the Mannequin Challenge.

HOW TO MAKE A GOOD 'ALTERNATIVE FACTS' JOKE: Make it like Gregg Popovich's, not Brad Stevens'.

BLOCK THIS: Zach Harper explains Kawhi Leonard's dominance on the left block.

BOOKMARK THIS FOR LATER: An oral history of Homestar Runner.

Until next time.