The Cleveland Cavaliers heard Bradley Beal's comments to CSN's Chris Miller that the Wizards would have given them a tough challenge to the point that "they didn't want to see" Washington in the playoffs. Naturally, they disagree.
Despite being in the middle of the Eastern Conference Finals, at least two members of the Cavs have responded publicly. First, to jog your memory, here is what Beal told CSN:
"Cleveland didn’t want to see us. I always said that. I felt like that’s the reason they didn’t play us in the second round. They didn’t want to see us in the second round," he said. "If they were going to go down, they were going to go down in the conference finals. They didn’t want to go down in the second round."
A few days later Cavs forward Richard Jefferson issued a strong response to CBS Sports:
"It seems like the teams that are at home now want to start talking," Jefferson said.
"Bradley's a great young player, he's going to have a great career in front of him, but don't talk about teams that didn't want to see you when you're out of the playoffs. It makes absolutely no sense. A team that has now won 10 in a row in the playoffs, the defending champions, didn't want to see you, but you didn't get out of the second round? It makes headlines, but does it make sense? How does it make you come across when people want to talk about basketball IQ?"
Then, Cavs guard J.R. Smith took a shot at Beal on Twitter:
If you don't knock it off! Win game 7 an then talk. Till then sit home an enjoy the show! https://t.co/aZkZ7Lpi4u— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) May 20, 2017
The thing is, many basketball fans would probably agree at this point that the Wizards would give the Cavs a better fight than the Celtics, given how poorly Boston has played through two games and the fact their best player, Isaiah Thomas, is now done for the playoffs with an injury. That's not to say that Washington would beat Cleveland, but it would at least be fun to watch.
Maybe next year the Wizards and Cavs will get a chance to settle this.