When you look on the face of it, you would be surprised to not only see the Los Angeles Clippers defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night, but by the score which it occurred as well.
With the game on national television, the Clippers swept aside the Cavaliers 108-78 at the Staples Center, winning against the current NBA champions by 30 points. But when you start to dig a bit deeper into the strange outcome, it starts to become clearer why we witnessed an upset.
That's because Cleveland announced before the game that they had made the decision to not play their big three players, giving LeBron James a rest, while allowing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love more time to recover their injuries.
This decision upset not only fans that had tickets to the game, but the league themselves, as well as former players including a certain NBA Hall of Famer.
Former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone let his feelings known on the Cavs' decision to rest their big three through a strongly worded message, according to Sage Steele on Twitter.
He said: "If you don't have at least 10 yrs experience, get your a** playing. It's not work, it's called playing. Besides, tell our underpaid service members & police & first responders to rest. Dammit, they can't"
Cavaliers' general manager David Griffin defended the decision to rest James, Irving, and Love, but also sympathized with the fans as they didn't get an opportunity to watch their favorite players play.
However, the NBA wasn't happy about it, as Griffin told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the league office called him shortly after the team announced its decision. He said: “Yeah, they were not happy."
Yet, the general manager stood by the decision as he believes it isn’t his job to satisfy the league and its television partners, as he said: “Yeah, and they’re paying me to win a championship. I’m not overly concerned about the perception of it. We literally had one guy rest tonight, and everybody else was reasonably injured, so I don’t feel like we did anything terribly egregious.”
It's not surprising that the league wasn't happy as the best players aren't playing against one another. The schedule is obviously the main reason why this happened, as the Golden State Warriors did the same thing last week and rested Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in a nationally televised game against the San Antonio Spurs during a hectic part of their schedule.
As for what kind of punishment the Cavaliers will receive for their decision remains to be seen, but it certainly isn't out of the question, as the Spurs were fined $250,000 for sitting their star players for a nationally televised game in Miami back in 2012. Discipline could very well be coming the Cavaliers way.