LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love took a seat for the game against the Clippers at the Staples Center and the Clippers ran out easy winners
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said the Cavaliers decision to rest LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for the big Saturday night game against the Clippers was not cool, while ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy was a little less measured, calling it a prosecutable offence.
James, Love and Irving took a seat for their game at the Staples Center, and LA, predictably, breezed to an 108-78 victory. (It was the Cavs lowest scoring game of the season.) The Clippers blowout victory represented the second straight damp squib in Saturday primetime, after the Warriors sat Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Igoudala and Klay Thompson in their 107-85 loss against the Spurs last week.
After the game, Rivers said: There is a fanbase that probably bought tickets tonight to see LeBron James play for the first time. They didnt get a chance to see that, and thats not cool.
Van Gundys ABC colleague Mark Jackson called it an absolute joke, and the NBA was none too impressed, either. Cavs general manager David Griffin said the league was on the phone to the team to express its disappointment in team selection seven minutes after it was announced. Yeah, they were not happy.
But Tyronn Lue, the Cavaliers coach, stood by the decision, arguing that team has to play six games in nine days, and Love and Irving are nursing injuries.
Its a long season, and a lot of games, Lue said. We have a lot of back-to-back games. Everybody has. Four in five nights are tough. Five in seven are tough. But its been going on for years. Its not the first time weve done it. I think coaches are taking responsibility, trying to look after their players, make sure they get the proper rest.