Wakeup Call: A most valuable Clipper

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Wakeup Call: A most valuable Clipper

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, February 18:

AUTO RACING
Of all the congratulations Danica Patrick received for becoming the first woman to win the pole at the Daytona 500, the one that may mean the most to her came from Janet Guthrie, who broke NASCAR's gender barrier in 1976. (AP)

A look at Patrick down through the years. (nbcsports.com)

BASEBALL
Despite an "absolutely terrible" offseason spent recovering from a broken ankle that he says he probably could have avoided had he not tried to play through pain, Derek Jeter vows to be ready for Opening Day. (AP)

Just be ready for April 24, Derek. You don't want to miss "Joe Maddon Gnome Bobblehead Night" at The Trop. (NBC's Off The Bench)

Whenever you do come back, Jose Reyes will be waiting. (CSN Baltimore)

Todd Helton apologizes and asks for forgiveness after his DUI arrest. (AP)

Paul Konerko realizes this may be his last go-round in the big leagues, but says he's ready for life after baseball. (AP)

Freddy Sanchez? At the end of the line? Wasn't it just yesterday he was the big Sox prospect in Pawtucket? (CSN Bay Area)

If you had Day One in the Matt Garza Injury Pool, congratulations! (CSN Chicago)

Yes, yes, that's Chipper Jones in Braves camp. No, no, he's not coming back. (AP)

Nick Swisher returns to the Indians after attending his mother's funeral. (AP)

Roger Clemens says he's "been friends" with, and "had some good times" with, Mike Piazza. With friends like that . . . (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The legend of Marshall Henderson continues to grow. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

A win is a win is a win, right, Jim Larranaga? Especially one that gets you to 12-0 in the ACC. (AP)

Don't be surprised if No. 20 Wisconsin and No. 13 Ohio State flop positions in the new AP poll today after the Badgers' 22-point thumping of the Buckeyes. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Ken Clark, one of the Nebraska's top all-time rushers, dies of a heart attack at age 46. (AP)

GOLF
Tiger Woods tunes up for this week's Match Play Championship by playing a round with President Obama. (AP)

When gets there, he'll be seeded second behind Rory McIlroy. (AP)

This weekend's winners: John Merrick at Riviera . . . (AP)

. . . Jiyai Shin in the Australian Women's Open . . . (AP)

. . . and Bernard Langer on the Champions Tour. (AP)

HOCKEY
You think Bill Belichick is bad? Try asking John Tortorella a question. (CSN Washington)

The Blackhawks beat the Kings and are now one away from tying the 2006-07 Ducks' record for consecutive games at the beginning of a season without a loss. (CSN Chicago)

The Blues follow a winless home stand with an undefeated road trip. (AP)

The Wild top the Red Wings for their first regulation victory since Jan. 29. (AP)

The Canadiens' rookie sensation, Brendan Gallagher, is out indefinitely because of a concussion. (AP)

The AHL game between Springfield and Adirondack is suspended in the second period when the Falcons' Wade MacLeod, a Columbus farmhand and ex-Northeastern player, suffers a seizure after being checked into the glass. MacLeod is reported to be stable and alert at a Springfield hospital. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
At long last, a Clipper is named MVP of the All-Star Game. (AP)

The injured James Harden not only gets to play in his hometown All-Star Game, but he scores 15 points and has some fun, to boot. (CSN Houston)

Kobe to LeBron: Get that stuff outta here. Twice! (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

The NBA All-Stars play Marilyn Monroe to Michael Jordan's President Kennedy. (AP)

Jerry Colangelo on Deron Williams: I meant physically unfit, for God's sake! (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
A team-by-team look at the candidates for the dreaded franchise tag. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Alec Ogletree's recent DUI arrest, coming less than a year after his positive drug test, may be a boon for the Ravens. (Pro Football Talk)

TENNIS
Rafael Nadal's comeback is complete: He wins the Brazil Open. (AP)

Victoria Azarenka ends her 10-match losing streak against Serena Williams as she posts a 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 victory in the finals of the Qatar Open. (AP)

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

The Washington Wizards plan to roll into tonight’s game against the Celtics donning all-black clothes, as in a funeral procession, a sign of solidarity and an omen of sorts for a game that they hope ends with them burying the Celtics.
 
When Jae Crowder was asked about the Wizards all-black gear, his initial response...“That’s cute!”
 
More than anything, the Wizards (24-20) are putting a significant amount of value into tonight’s game. A victory would extend their home winning streak to 14.

Meanwhile, the Celtics (26-17) come in looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
 
“This is definitely not Game 7 or the playoffs,” said Isaiah Thomas. “But if they want to take it that serious, they can.”
 
The idea to arrive at the Verizon Center donning all-black was hatched by Bradley Beal, who has some contentious moments, to say the least, with the Celtics recently.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows all about the funeral talk which to him is just that, talk. He’s more concerned with his team doing what they need to do in order to win.
 
Nothing more.
 
Nothing less.
 
“At the end of the day, good basketball teams are physical,” he said. “There’s a line you don’t want to cross. Ultimately, you have to be appropriately physical at a high level. It’s about playing well, focus on your next task at hand. This is a great opportunity to see where we’re at.”

In the Celtics' 117-108 win over the Wizards on Jan. 11, Beal was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after getting into it with Marcus Smart.
 
Last season, Beal was on the receiving end of a left forearm to the face from Smart, who was driving to the basket at the time. The blow resulted in a broken nose for Beal in addition to spending time in the league’s concussion protocol program.
 
And then there’s his backcourt mate John Wall.
 
He was fined $15,000 for his role in a postgame incident with Jae Crowder (who was fined $25,000). Crowder pushed Wall’s nose with his finger, which led to Wall retaliating with a slap towards Crowder’s face.
 
And when the two met back on Nov. 9, Wall was hit with a flagrant-2 foul (an automatic ejection) when he threw Smart down hard to floor in the final moments of a Wizards win.
 
The Celtics have a few games that have become more physical than others recently, but there’s something about this Celtics-Wizards matchup that brings out an elevated level of feistiness.
 
“It’s just all talk; that’s all it is,” Thomas said. “I guess they taking it and running with it. I don’t know what it is. I [saw] the funeral and the all-black thing last night and I just laughed about it. We’ll be there tonight for a game, not a funeral.”
 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Wizards in Washington. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game Preview: Rivalry in the making?

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

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- Live Extra FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Celtics: All of the most recent news and notes

- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford