The conference finals begin tonight with the Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors, but Bradley Beal isn't interested in what happens at all. He was asked a question after the Wizards' Game 6 elimination loss to the Atlanta Hawks and was so put off by having to compliment them that he deferred to John Wall.
"I hope nobody wins. Sore loser," said Beal during the Wizards' exit interviews Monday. "It still hurts. We had a great year. We were right there again.
"Whenever you're playing against me, even if you beat me, I'm a sore loser. They didn't really beat us."
Those comments from Beal were greeted with smiles, but after Friday's 94-91 defeat in which Paul Pierce's trying three-point shot was reviewed and overturned the look on his face was clear. He'd held the NBA's best three-point shooter in Kyle Korver to less than 30% accuracy and simultaneously led all scorers in the series for Washington.
The Hawks open Game 1 of the East finals vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
"Discouraging," is how Beal described the Wizards' second-round elimination for the second season in a row. "Because we feel like it shouldn't have been that close. In my opinion we should've won 4-1. We let a lot of games go down the stretch. They made some tough plays. (Al) Horford's game-winner (in Game 5). Paul's, they took his away. That's the series right there.
"I give them credit. That's a tremendous team. They've been playing like that all year. They've been playing great basketball."
Coach Randy Wittman led his team to a first-round series win despite lacking home-court advantage. They're 8-1 in the last two seasons in beating the higher seed. They might've been able to get beyond the second round if it weren't for Wall's broken left wrist that caused him to miss three games vs. the Hawks.
"It just sucks," Wittman said of his mood after Friday's crushing loss. "That’s the one thing I hate about this job. You're basically, from September, after Labor Day, to when it just stops abruptly. You're going seven days a week, basically, for however long that is. Saturday, for me, I was in a fog. I didn't know what to do with myself. I couldn't pull myself yet to look at the film. That's the hard thing because it just stops. It's like you just ran into a wall. And it's over. Makes you upset watching the other teams still play."
Wall will be in Cleveland later this week or next to get his wrist, which has five fractures, examined. He promises he won't show up at Quicken Loans Arena to watch the Hawks play the Cavs.
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