LeBron James turned in his best performances of the season on Friday night, scoring 57 points in a 130-122 win over the Washington Wizards. Turns out LeBron might have had a little extra motivation coming into the game.
On ESPN's "The Jump," Wizards point guard John Wall said that LeBron and the Cavs intentionally got the No. 2 seed last season so that they wouldn't have to face the Wizards in the second round.
"If you look at them last year ... I think they didn't want that number one seed for a reason, because we would have played them in the second round."
Host Rachel Nichols then asked Wall to clarify if he truly believed the Cavaliers purposely ducked the Wizards.
"To be honest, I think so," Wall said. "I think they wanted to see us in the Eastern Conference finals and we fell one game short of that. I think we just give them the best matchup out of any team in the East."
The Cavaliers lost their last four games of the 2016-17 regular season and missed out on the No. 1 seed to the Boston Celtics by two games. As a result the Cavs swept both the Pacers and Raptors before meeting the Celtics, who eliminated the Wizards in seven games in the conference semifinals.
Cleveland rested LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for the final two games of the season, so it was clear that playoff health was a bigger priority than chasing the top seed.
On the same episode of "The Jump," Wizards guard Bradley Beal said that he feels Washington is the best team in the Eastern Conference, despite the Cavs making three straight NBA Finals appearances.