CLEVELAND – The Cavaliers plan to enter LeBron James’ seventh consecutive NBA Finals completely rested has hit a snag as it appears increasingly likely that Cleveland will have to use some of its starters during the Eastern Conference playoffs.
“Nothing has been decided for sure yet,” said head coach Tyronn Lue. “But we’re not at our best right now and we may not be able to let LeBron and Kyrie go on vacation for a couple weeks during the second or third round. We may at least need them to stay in the United States in case they have to hop on a quick flight to help us win an elimination game.”
Cleveland still plans to play its 1st Round series — likely against the Heat or Pacers — with backups and third-stringers. But Lue has said he will need to see an improvement over the final week of the regular season to give his starters the next six weeks off.
“I think they kind of got senioritis a little bit, planning to just coast on in to the NBA Finals,” said Lue. “And I can’t blame them. They can. But we’re professionals and we need to at least put in a half-decent performance during these meaningless games.”
Irving said he will buckle down now to earn his time off.
“I guess no one noticed, but I’ve been shooting with my left hand for the last month,” he said. “You know, just to make the games a little more challenging and expand my skills. But I’ll switch back to regular now so coach can calm down.”