Wall, who was with the Washington Wizards during the 2016-17 season, said that the Cavs didn’t want to face the Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The five-time All-Star went on to explain that he’d take several members of Washington’s starting lineup at the time, such as Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat, over starters like J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson in the Cavs lineup.
“Me and Kyrie [Irving], we matching up,” he began. “I’m taking Brad over J.R. You got Bron over Trevor Ariza. I’m taking you know who. Kevin Love and Markieff Morris, I’m taking Kevin Love, but Markieff Morris can shoot threes and post up. I’m taking Gortat over Tristan Thompson, and our bench was deeper than theirs.”
Unfortunately for Wall and the Wizards, the team never made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. After a crazy win in Game 6 where Wall hit a game-winning shot, the Wizards lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of their second-round series, ending their season.
Former Cavs forward Richard Jefferson chimed in on Wall’s comments, sharing Cleveland’s record during their playoff runs against the East.
2016 Cavs went 12-2 vs EC
2017 Cavs went 12-1 vs EC
We won 10 in a row both years. Love his confidence he should think this way. I believe he believes this, even if he is wrong 🤷🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/SiULpzFr12
— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) January 19, 2023
The Cavs dominated the East in multiple seasons before running into the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Wall was certainly confident in himself and his team, but it does seem like he’s making a bit of a leap since the Cavs only lost three games in the playoffs against the East across two seasons.
Smith, who was a key member of the Cavs teams that made the NBA Finals, chimed in with laughing emojis in reaction to Wall’s statement.
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) January 19, 2023
The Cavs had some terrific teams during LeBron James’ second stint with the team. Irving, Love, Thompson and others all played major roles for Cleveland and helped James bring a title back to the team that drafted him.
The Cavs defeated the Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals after Golden State set the regular season record for wins, going 73-9.
Wall may have believed that the Wizards had a shot against Cleveland in the following season, but the fact that the team never got there shows that he may be getting ahead of himself.
Cleveland easily disposed of the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2016-17 season, winning the series in five games.