Sometimes it’s better to keep silent. Bradley Beal, who Washington Wizards lost a grueling seven-game series in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Boston Celtics, made a bold statement earlier this week involving the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
While talking to CSN Mid-Atlantic about the disappointment of having their season end prematurely, Beal made it known they’re ultimate target was the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“Cleveland didn’t want to see us,” Beal told Chris Miller of CSN (h/t Chase Hughes). “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. 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.”
Sure, no one will dispute the fact the Wizards were the better matchup against the star-studded Cavaliers. Boston has not been a threat to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love-led Cavaliers. Despite being the lower seed, the Cavaliers have blown out the Celtics in Boston back-to-back games, capping off the road sweep in the first two games with an impressive 130-86 win.
Cleveland has an advantage at nearly every lineup-matchup against Boston. That is not necessarily the same case against the Wizards. Cleveland and Washington gave us the best regular season game of the season, a Feb. 6 overtime thriller that Cleveland won with James fouled out. It was James’ bank three at the buzzer of regulation that sent the game into overtime.
The Wizards amped after falling short at home, ran through the Cavaliers in a Mar. 25 blowout win in which John Wall outdueled James. Those two games got the national attention for Washington, and a collective proclamation to being the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. Heck, Wall has emerged as the second-best player in the Eastern Conference behind James. So, it’s not hard to fathom anyone believing the Cavaliers were at the very least aware of a potential struggle in a postseason series against the rising Wizards. And not grabbing the No. 1 seed once learning the Wizards were locked at the four seed, may be no coincidence.
Previously analysts like Stephen A. Smith of ESPN and TNT’s Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal all made their preference known publicly that they hoped the Wizards would get to the Conference Finals to see a competitive series against Cleveland.
With that being said, the theory is a sad case of could have, should have, would have. Unfortunately, the Wizards missed out on their opportunity to find out how competitive they were to the Cavaliers. They lost in seven games to Boston, unable to reach their team goal of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals and seeing where the chips lay.
Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith reminded everyone of that same notion.
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
Just as Beal is right about his declaration, Smith is just as correct about the Wizards needing to sit back and enjoy the show. They didn’t beat Boston and Beal shouldn’t have spoken on the matter. Whether he is right or wrong, his opinion does not count, simply because the Wizards did not advance to find out.
Beal and his teammates will have to settle for a lot of wishful thinking as they watch the Cavaliers be crowned the kings of the East for the third straight season. The Wizards will eventually have their chance. Wall and Beal are on the cusp of becoming the league’s most elite backcourt in the NBA, and that assumption will lend a Cavaliers-Wizards showdown in the very near future. Just as Smith stated, until then Beal and the Wizards need to sit back, enjoy show, and I’ll add use it as motivation, silently.