Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has confirmed that LeBron James will sit out tonight's game at home to the Houston Rockets to rest.
With nine games remaining for the Cavs in the regular season and with a three game lead on the Toronto Raptors, Lue sees this match as a perfect opportunity to give his star player some time off in the lead up to the playoffs, which begin next month.
Lue said last week that he will prioritise rest over the number one seed in the Eastern Conference and he has stuck to his word with James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving all being rested at different points in the last seven games.
Article continues below
LeBron was last rested for the visit of the Dallas Mavericks on March 17 and the break has seemed to do him good as he's been on a tear since. In the past four games, the 12-time All-Star has averaged 29 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists, culminating in him being named the Eastern Conference player of the week for the fourth time this season and an NBA record 52nd time in his career.
Despite LeBron's hot streak, Lue couldn't pass up the chance to give him a break.
"There are not too many chances and opportunities to rest one game and have four days off, so I thought it was a good opportunity to rest him," Lue said after practice on Monday.
In his last outing, James posted a triple-double against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden and he will now not be expected to take to the court until the Brooklyn Nets come to town on Thursday in the first game of a back-to-back, which is followed by a trip to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Friday.
The Cavaliers are 1-2 this season when James doesn't play and one team who will be concerned with his absence will be the Dallas Mavericks who are in a battle with the Rockets to secure a playoff spot. Houston currently have a half-game lead over the Mavericks.
Lue also added that he hasn't thought too much about resting multiple players at the same time in the manner that the San Antonio Spurs did on Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"I haven't had any thoughts to that, my thing is to listen to the training staff and who has knick-knacks and who's not feeling well at this point and go from there."
The Cleveland head coach also stated that he will be giving further rest to Irving and Love down the stretch and will work in some rest for J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova.
With LeBron and the Cavs expected to make it out of the east and a second consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals, the tactic by Lue to protect the health of his stars should give them the best possible shot at bringing a first championship to the city.