When the Cleveland Cavaliers played against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night on national television, they made the decision to rest their big three players; LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. A decision that angered a lot of NBA fans as they didn’t get to see their favorite players play.
The Cavaliers would go on to lose the game by 30 points to the Clippers with the final score being 108-78 at the Staples Center. Fans and former players were annoyed with the team’s decision to give James a rest, while also allowing Irving and Love more time to recover from their injuries.
This comes a week after the Golden State Warriors decided to rest Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green in their nationally televised game against the San Antonio Spurs during a busy part of their schedule.
And that’s why the players were rested, because of the schedule. Back-to-back games mean players are getting tired quicker and are becoming more prone to injury, meaning they end up missing more games in the future. Arguably, something needs to be done to the schedule to avoid this outcome.
Despite being the head coach of the Clippers, Doc Rivers understands the Cavaliers decision to rest their stars as he said after the game the NBA needs to address the back-to-back scheduling of nationally broadcast games. He rested Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan against the Denver Nuggets on Friday in their back-to-back games.
Rivers said, according to ESPN: “We have to protect our product. It’s hard. It’s impossible, if you actually knew what went into scheduling, but the look of back-to-back ABC national games — it’s not good.
“I hate it for the fans. I really do. I hate it. I do it. We all do it. I mean, it’s bad. And I did it the other night in Denver. There are people with Blake and DJ jerseys all over the place.”
As for how he would solve this problem the NBA has, the Clippers head coach suggests refraining from scheduling teams playing in marquee nationally broadcast games for two games in as many days.
“I think we have to treat those games like they’re afternoon games, and you don’t play the night before. And then you don’t play the next night after.”
Whether or not the league will implement this change remains to be seen, but for the longevity of players in the NBA, they probably should definitely consider making some sort of change to the schedule. Otherwise, we’re just going to see more games where the big names don’t play.