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Tyronn Lue Considering Resting Stars for Final Stretch of Regular Season
- Updated: March 28, 2017
After getting crushed by the San Antonio Spurs (57-26) on Monday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers (47-26) lost sole possession of the first seed in the Eastern Conference to the hungry Boston Celtics (48-26).
“Cavs coach Tyronn Lue hinted he was considering sacrificing not only the first seed in the East playoffs, but maybe even the second and third slots in favor of resting his key players for the postseason.”
The idea comes from Lue’s past experience with the 2009-10 Celtics when Doc Rivers rested his stars to close the season. Lue recalled the move with the C’s before the game:
“I know the situation in Boston we had where we was back and forth between the first and second seed and Doc decided to rest KG (Kevin Garnett), Ray (Allen) and Paul (Pierce) the last seven games. We was the four seed and still went to the Finals. He picked health over seed and that was important to us knowing if he had a healthy team we’d be OK. I kind of feel the same way.”
Those same Celtics were one win away from capturing a championship in 2010. While the two teams aren’t in the same exact situation, the overarching theme appears to be that health is more important than seeding.
“The biggest thing for me is if we’re healthy I like our chances,” Lue said.
One key player the coach may want to implement this strategy on is All-Star LeBron James. The 32-year-old is playing a whopping 37.5 minutes per game, second in the NBA in minutes averaged, on top of already have played until June in each of the last six seasons. There’s no doubt James is taking a toll on his body with each passing game and the weariness is hovering over the team. The King acknowledged the Cavs looked a step slow on Monday:
“We look slow. It’s an individual question, but at the same time, yeah, we look a little slow against a lot of these teams,” James said after the defending champs scored a season-low 74 points against the Spurs.
If the Cavs do end up not going for the No. 1 spot, the worst place they can land is fourth in the East. In addition to the Celtics, the Washington Wizards (45-28) and Toronto Raptors (45-29) are right with Cavs in the standings. The Atlanta Hawks are 10 games behind them in fifth place with nine games remaining.
The Cavs take on the Chicago Bulls (35-39) next on Thursday at United Center.