LeBron James fires back at people criticizing Cavaliers for resting players

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Though it may make certain NBA legends mad, teams resting top players is here to stay. And, when you look at the era we live in, the strategy makes sense.

Most recently, Karl Malone called out the Cleveland Cavaliers for resting LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

However, Malone was an exception during his era, playing in at least 80 games in 17 of his 19 seasons. These days, more NBA players are staying healthier, leading to longer careers than many players in Malone's era enjoyed.

LeBron, who is in his 14th year in the league and is showing no signs of slowing down, told ESPN that he understands where Malone and others who have called out the Cavs are coming from, but said there's nothing the league can do to prevent it:

"I don't think the NBA can do anything about it," James said following Sunday's win. "At the end of the day, it sucks at times where certain guys have to rest, but certain guys need rest.

"And it's a long, strenuous season and the NBA does a great job of putting the schedule together as best as they can. You're going to have back-to-backs. You're going to have certain games where certain things fall on certain nights, but a coach's job is to figure out a way for their team to compete for a championship, not compete for a game."

The rest on Saturday clearly helped the Cavaliers' "Big Three" on Sunday night against the Lakers, as James, Love and Irving combined for 101 of Cleveland's 125 points in a 125-120 victory.

Even though LeBron understands the need for rest, though, it doesn't mean he accepts nights off with open arms:

"Obviously it sucks at times because certain games you only play in certain cities once, or you play certain teams once on their home floor, but for me personally, I want to play in every game," said James. "I wanted to play [Saturday] night but my coach felt like it was best that I didn't play last night, so I'm going to go with my coach and he's never steered me wrong."

James has played in 63 of the Cavaliers 69 games so far, missing a couple for minor injuries and a couple others for rest, so no one can question his commitment to getting on the court when he's healthy.

With the Cavs leading the Eastern Conference with a 46-23 record, James and his teammates face another long playoff run this spring. Therefore, any rest he can get during the regular season should be welcomed with open arms.

Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Kevin Love
LeBron James
NBA Playoffs

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