Let’s start off by clearing the air. Both the Cavs and the Warriors are way, way better than any of the teams either has played during this year’s playoffs. But that didn’t stop Golden State forward Draymond Green from dissing Cleveland’s playoff competition, and now Cavs forward Richard Jefferson has returned the favor.
On his podcast, Road Trippin’ with RJ and Channing, Jefferson remarked sarcastically on how the Warriors have had a fair bit of luck in the playoffs with key opposing players getting injured. Here’s the full transcript of Jefferson’s retort from Jordan Heck of Sporting News:
Richard Jefferson calls out Draymond Green for criticism about Cavs opponents. Says Warriors haven't played vs. tough competition, either. pic.twitter.com/7GOVtnLMTr
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) May 11, 2017
Jefferson’s got a point. Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic missed the first round series, leaving Portland with no inside presence. Jazz point guard George Hill had been huge in their first round win against the Clippers, and his toe injury suffered in Game 1 of the second round all but doomed Utah in an already fruitless task going against the Warriors.
And whether Golden State draws San Antonio or Houston in the Western Conference Finals, it will face another less-than-100-percent opponent. Spurs guard Tony Parker is done for the year with a ruptured quadriceps tendon, and so is Rockets forward Nene with a torn muscle in his thigh.
That’s not to say the Cavs have had a difficult road either. The Pacers had some injuries carry over into the playoffs, and Raptors star guard Kyle Lowry missed the final two games of their second round series against Cleveland.
Here’s what Green originally told ESPN about the Cavs’ playoff competition earlier this week:
“I thought teams would compete a little harder,” Green said after shootaround on Monday. “I just watched San Antonio-Houston. I like to watch good basketball. When you watch Cleveland play, you’re only watching one side of the good basketball. That’s kind of weak.
“I like watching a good game, not even necessarily that it’s going to be a close game. I like to watch teams playing good basketball. When you watch them, you watch one team playing good basketball and everybody else do something. I don’t know what that something is.”
Clearly, there’s only one way to settle this: NBA Finals rematch.