The Cleveland Cavaliers earned plenty of criticisms after they decided to rest all their “Big Three” against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving defended the team’s decision, saying there’s no problem in resting NBA stars.
After a successful two-game homestand, the Cavaliers headed to Los Angeles to face the Clippers. Unfortunately, the supposed exciting showdown between two strong playoff contender teams became boring when the Cavaliers decided to rest LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. The NBA expressed their disappointment since it’s the second consecutive Saturday a team rested star players during prime-time.
General manager David Griffin revealed the league contacted them but they stood firm with their decision. The Cavaliers wants all their “Big Three” to be 100 percent healthy in the upcoming postseason. Love just returned from injury while Irving suffered knee soreness in the past games.
Though LeBron James is healthy, coach Tyronn Lue didn’t allow him to play “solo” and decided to rest him as well. Lue revealed that James really wanted to play against the Clippers. James defended his team from critics and said that Lue only did what’s best for the team.
“At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest but certain guys need rest. A coach’s job is to figure out a way for their team to compete for a championship, not compete for a game,” James said. “And obviously it sucks at times because certain games you only play in certain cities once or you play certain teams once on their home floor, but for me personally, I want to play in every game.”
Cavaliers forced to rest “Big Three” in back-to-back games
It was the third time this season that the Cavaliers rested all their “Big Three.” Their current schedule forced them to make such decision, especially with back-to-back games. The Cavaliers were scheduled for games on consecutive nights 16 times this season.
“This is our sixth game in eight days and I don’t think anyone realized that,” Irving said. “We’re not here to complain about it but honestly playing basketball six games in eight days is a lot. But we prepare our bodies for it and I don’t have any ill-will toward the NBA being disappointed or the fans because I totally understand.”
Clippers head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers urged the league to take action to prevent these situations. He suggested that the NBA should make sure the nationally televised games don’t feature teams involved in back to backs. Next year, the league plans to lengthen regular season in terms of calendar days.
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