J.R. Smith.

J.R. Smith hits back at Wizards claims that the Cavs deliberately avoided them in the playoffs

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Prior to Friday night's encounter with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Washington Wizards' star duo John Wall and Bradley Beal gave an interesting interview to ESPN.

The duo appeared in an episode of 'The Jump' and provided some strong words about their opponents and their status in the Eastern Conference.

According to Wall, the Cavs intentionally gave up the number one seed last season as they wanted to avoid the Wizards in the second round and didn't want to face them until the conference finals.

"I think if you look at last year, people might say they did or didn't, but I think they didn't want the number one seed for a reason because we would've played them in the second round," Wall told ESPN's Rachel Nichols and Paul Pierce, referring to Cleveland.

"I think we just give them the best matchup problems out of any team in the East."

Beal is clearly of the same opinion as his backcourt partner as he made similar comments in an interview with CSN Washington in May.

"Cleveland didn't want to see us," Beal said. "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. 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."

J.R. Smith fired back at Beal at the time saying they should've taken care of business in the second round against the Boston Celtics if they wanted a shot at the Cavs.

The veteran shooting guard commented once again following the 130-122 win over the Wizards last night after being asked about the latest statements made by his counterparts.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

"I just don't understand that we tanked [to miss] them, and they went to seven games against a team that was a number one seed and they lost," Smith told ESPN. "So, how did we tank?"

The Cavaliers ended the year 4-7 and fell to the number two spot in the east, giving up home court advantage to the Celtics.

It didn't make much of a difference as they swept the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors in the first two rounds and overcame the C's in five games in the conference finals.

"We were playing horrible," Smith said. "It wasn't like we were just out there [trying to lose]. Everybody was playing. It's not like Bron [LeBron James] didn't play, Ky [Kyrie Irving] didn't play, Kev [Kevin Love] didn't play, like we were resting guys. Everybody was playing. We just had a bad rut like we just did [this season]."

Cleveland Cavaliers v Milwaukee Bucks

Smith claims he and his teammates didn't discuss the comments by Beal and Wall but it certainly looked that way as they were playing with a chip on their shoulder and more energy than recent games.

LeBron James was a man on a mission as he dropped 57 points on the Wizards and sent out a statement that, despite their struggles, they're still the team to beat in the east.

LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
JR Smith
Kevin Love

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