The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t want to be one of those No. 1 seeds who sacrificed it all just for the top slot.
It takes smarts with a dash of arrogance for a team to rest starters down the stretch while a No. 1 seed remains in play, but it sounds like exactly what Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue will do with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and others.
Lue spoke with ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin about how the team will face the rest of the season:
We definitely want the No. 1 seed if we can get it, but I think we have to rest our guys also. 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.
There is a very real chance the Cavaliers lose the top seed, too.
Only one team can steal the top slot from the Cavaliers now, but it’s a good shot. The Toronto Raptors sit just 1.5 games out of first place and hold tiebreakers over the Cavaliers after winning the season series, 2-1.
Call it a precarious situation for the Cavaliers. Lue needs to rest his guys at some point, but also has to figure out what in the world has gone wrong as of late. He’s fiddled with new lineups, even going so far as to slap Kevin Love at center and put LeBron James at power forward. But Cleveland simply hasn’t been able to pull away in the conference, nor has the team exactly impressed.
Oh, and now there is the whole fiasco over who, how and why James follows folks on Twitter. Barstool Sports shared the details:
LeBron got asked about unfollowing the Cavs and immediately became the most flustered human on the planet pic.twitter.com/FTJB4pJdmW
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) March 22, 2016
Granted, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com noted this was all part of James’ master plan to focus for the postseason, though at the same time he’s flirted with the idea of joining another social-media platform, SnapChat, as of late.
Lue is right in thinking his workhorses need rest. He’s also correct in knowing his team can compete on the road if necessary. As ideal as a No. 1 seed might be, perhaps more important is Cleveland figuring out what’s going to work in the postseason and why the team hasn’t improved despite the coaching change.
The Cavaliers continue to run out of time. Observers should expect stars to take rest days no matter how the playoff picture looks.
And rest assured the decisions made over the next few weeks will get a large dose of the hindsight microscope down the road, especially if the Cavaliers don’t make it to the Finals and James’ unfollowing of the team really did turn out to be a huge hint as to his future plans.