Given the way the Cavs have played this postseason, going 9-0 while sweeping two series and blitzing Boston 117-104 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal has a theory about Cleveland's late-season tank: They were afraid of matching up with the Wizards.
He explained the theory in an interview with SportsNet Central on Thursday:
"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. They knew we were going to give them that competitiveness and that challenge, you know?"
The Wizards, of course, pushed the top-seeded Celtics to seven games in the East semis. But with Washington's guard-centered roster, Beal was adamant it would have been evenly matched, even though Cleveland won two of three regular-season matchups.
Disappointed about not getting a shot at Cleveland, Beal said, "It sucks. It sucks."