Kelly Oubre was subdued speaking to the media after the Wizards' 140-135 OT loss to the Cavaliers last night. But something he toward the end of his comments that could raise some eyebrows.
Oubre was asked if the Cleveland offense was the toughest he'd had to guard this year. He said no.
"No, it's not the toughest, but they do move the ball pretty well. You can't mess up on defense because if you mess up, they're going to capitalize," the Wizards wing said. "So I wouldn't say the toughest, but they're a pretty good team."
A bit of an understatement for the defending NBA champions who also own the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Reporters pressed him on whether LeBron James was the hardest player he'd guarded individually. Oubre was physical on James, but looked overmatched on several plays Monday night.
"No. He's a great player, but I don't think he's the toughest matchup I've had to face though,"
Then who would that be?
"Um, I would say James Harden," Oubre said. "He's crafty with the ball. He can draw fouls. He's like a mixture between Lou Williams and Bradley Beal, he's tough to guard."
While it's not outlandish to say Harden is the toughest assignment in the league, it's dangerous to say anything that James could interpret as a slight. The King doesn't need any more bulletin board material.
Meanwhile, these comments came right after James hit arguably the greatest shot of the year to send the game to overtime, though Oubre was not guarding him on that play.
There's also the fact that James is averaging 29.5 points on 58.3% shooting per game against the Wizards this year. That's significantly more efficient than Harden's 27.5 points on 34.9% shooting per game against Washington.
Wave Papi's own catchphrase probably says it best.
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