Cavaliers put rest before No. 1 seed


VIDEO: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will prioritize rest over the No.1 seed

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The maintenance plan in San Antonio is a staple of Gregg Popovich‘s program, no matter where the Spurs are in the standings this time of year.

But in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers are just a game ahead of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference playoff chase? Apparently so. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue made that clear to reporters today as he discussed the way he will approach the final days of the regular season in preparation for, what he anticipates to be a second consecutive deep playoff run for his team.

“We definitely want the No. 1 seed if we can get it, but I think we have to rest our guys also,” Lue said, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported after the team’s shootaround Monday morning. “I think health going into the playoffs is more important than the seeding. If we’re fortunate enough to get the No. 1 seed, it will be great for us. But if not, then we just got to play through it.

“I think all championship teams have to win on the road anyway. So, [the No. 1 seed is] important to us, but also being healthy going into the playoffs is more important.”

The Raptors own the tiebreaker of the Cavaliers, having won the season series 2-1.

The Golden State Warriors, locked in a race for the top spot in the Western Conference standings against the Spurs, might face a similar dilemma, depending on how things transpire in the coming days.

The Warriors have a three-game lead over the Spurs with two games remaining against Popovich’s crew. They are chasing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ NBA record 72-win regular season mark as well as trying to secure home court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Warriors are also 32-0 at home this season with nine of their remaining 13 games at Oracle Arena. They need to go 11-2 to break the Bulls’ record.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr addressed the topic before his team lost to the Spurs in San Antonio Saturday night, saying that he is already finding ways to keep his team fresh by resting his guys during games and adjusting his practice schedule and routine to make sure his team remains fresh for a defense of their title.

Lue played on championship teams with the Los Angeles Lakers, so he surely understands the need to rest his stars — LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love — in an effort to keep them fresh for a long postseason run.

But if it costs the Cavaliers the No. 1 seed, it will no doubt raise a few eyebrows.

10 Comments

  1. The top 3 teams in the NBA really don’t care about their seeding; they would rather rest their players and shoot for 16 wins in the playoffs. Understandable.

  2. King James, please cut the drama out and get back to the basics that made you who you are today. You have the best team, dont loose the opportunity to be great.

  3. juan dela cruz says:

    O cmon man, idnt think so, what your saying is a moving target, bulls and pistons is in a tight battle for 8th place, same situation for heat hawks and celtics for a 3rd seeding.

  4. Al says:

    I agree that Lue doesn’t want to face Chicago and neither do Raptors in the 1st round. Bulls record doesn’t show how tough they are (due to injuries)… the only problem is that you can’t think like “oh let’s finish 2nd because Bull will be 8th” because that’s not true. Bulls are only half game behind 7th place Indiana with 13 games remaining! Bulls also have an easier remainder of the games than Indiana. So they can finish either 7th, 8th (or even 9th), although there’s a good chance they’ll actually finish 7th! So Cavs and Raps can’t win or lose games accordingly, since no one knows yet. All they can do is finish strong and rest their players at the same time.

  5. Rishi says:

    I think that is fine

  6. Alec says:

    I think coach Lue is not ready to coach such team as Cleveland. He doesnt know what should he do next. It was easily seen when Cleveland was loosing to Miami 30 ponts. He kept Mozgov on the bench and let Whiteside do anuthing he want under the basket.
    Cleveland would loose in the second round of playoff this year and Lebron would look for the new coach or new team.

  7. fxnazareth says:

    I think Coach Lue, with his championship pedigree, is very calculated. He is just avoiding playing against 8th seed Bulls and if they win, the 4th seed Heat. I do not blame him, I hope the Raptors are smart enough to see his tactic, especially because they have still to beat the Bulls, who have created havoc at Jurrasic Park.

    • dudewiththeYogurt says:

      With Indiana and Detroit’s easy schedules, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bulls don’t make the playoffs. Indiana and Detroit have a ridiculous amount of consecutive home games. And if Bulls don’t keep pace they may mentally fall out of the race. Not counting them out, but it’s gonna be tough.

      I see the standings ending like this:
      1. Cleveland
      2. Toronto
      3. Atlanta
      4. Miami (Easier sked, but would rather face Boston over Indiana)
      5. Boston (no Jae Crowder will make their HC advantage race hard)
      6. Indiana
      7. Charlotte (crazy amount of road games, especially against +.500 teams)
      8. Detroit/Chicago

    • realsdoor says:

      Chicago can still catch Indiana for 7th and the Heat can still catch the Hawks for 3rd anyways. I don’t think they are trying to avoid match ups, but like the article says they are trying to stay healthy. I don’t know if risking going into the playoffs with losses and lost momentum is a good idea. Could be hard to suddenly flip the switch and be ready for playoff intensity.

    • lt132333 says:

      you are on the money brother. i new that before i saw your comment. i am a bull fan. lookout.