Wizards’ Bradley Beal: ‘Cleveland didn’t want to see us’

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LeBron James has destroyed every Eastern Conference team in his path the last seven years.

HIs teams are 20-0 in playoff series and 81-20 in playoff games against the East since he went to the Heat. The Cavaliers again appear to outclass the Eastern Conference field.

But they won’t have to play the Wizards, who lost in the second round to Celtics, to return to the Finals.

Washington guard Bradley Beal, via Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

“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.”

The Cavs might prefer facing the Celtics to the Wizards. Cleveland rested its stars late in the season and fell from first place to second place, avoiding an earlier matchup with Washington, which appeared likely for fourth place. But the primary impetus appeared to be lightening the load on LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love before a long playoff run – not lining up matchups.

If the Wizards are such a formidable challenger, why didn’t they beat Boston? Washington – which went 1-2 against Cleveland in the regular season, including a tough overtime loss – doesn’t possess some grand matchup advantage against the Cavaliers.

The Cavs, when locked in like they are now, are so good. Facing the Wizards or Celtics probably makes only minimal difference. Neither opponent is a serious challenger.