With the Cleveland Cavaliers having secured the number two seed in the Eastern Conference with games to spare in the regular season it appears that LeBron James is preparing to sit out the franchise's next two games.
Taken at face value, the move, reported today by ESPN's Brian Windhorst, appears little more than an attempt to keep the four-time NBA MVP out of harms way ahead of the playoffs. It could though have major ramifications for LeBron's former team, the Miami Heat.
That's because the Cavs' next two fixtures see them go up against the Boston Celtics - one of the teams doing battle with the Heat for the final postseason berth out East.
The Celtics currently lie in seventh spot in the Eastern Conference (tied with the Brooklyn Nets) but the Heat are just one game behind as they bid to make the playoff's in their first LeBron-less season since 2009.
Eric Spoelstra and co would have been hoping to take advantage of Boston's tough double-headed against the in-form Cavaliers - catching, or even usurping their rivals in the playoff standings. The fact that the Celtics will likely tip-off twice in succession against a Cleveland team missing the best player in the league though gives them a far greater chance of victory.
Whilst fans at the TD Garden may be delighted by the prospect of seeing LeBron James sit out the next two games (one at home, one on the road), the same cannot be said for those around them in the standings.
As well as Brooklyn and the Miami Heat, the Indiana Pacers are also firmly locked in the battle for one of the final postseason places - they too are just one game back.
Buoyed by the return of Paul George, and a three-game winning streak, they still require fortune to favor them heading into the final four games of the regular season. LeBron sitting out for two of those games certainly does not fit in that category.
As for the Miami Heat, it looks like LeBron James' effect on the franchise continues to linger on.
What do you think Heat fans? Will LeBron missing games hand the advantage to Boston? And are your team capable of performing in the postseason if they make it? Have your say in the comment section below...
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