Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue will rest his big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for their nationally televised Saturday matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin. They will start Deron Williams, Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert in their place.
The Cavaliers are 0-4 in games each of their big three doesn’t play, per ESPN Stats & Info. The game will be played on ABC at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Cleveland is the second consecutive team to sit its starters in a nationally-televised game during the latter stretch of the season. The Golden State Warriors rested Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in a March 11 game against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs, without LaMarcus Aldridge (heart), Kawhi Leonard (concussion protocol) and Tony Parker (back), pummeled the Warriors, 107-85. That game was also aired on ABC.
The Cavaliers played in their second of a back-to-back in a fast-paced loss to the Houston Rockets last Sunday. Since then, the team hasn’t had more than one day of rest in-between games. After its game against the Clippers, Cleveland plays the second of another back-to-back this Sunday against the Lakers. They then have three days off until a Wednesday game against the Nuggets.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been outspoken on the issues a team poses its fans by resting its star players at any point throughout the season.
“I’m sympathetic to fans who turn out — whether they buy tickets to games or watching games on television and don’t see their favorite player on the floor,” he said, according to USA Today, before conceding it’s not his place to dole out a team’s minutes. “I think that’s a core responsibility of the team and I think it’s a very slippery slope for the league office to start getting in the business of telling a coach or team what minutes a player should play.”
Adding additional days between games is an option that could give players the rest they need to avoid missing games, per USA Today.
But it’s clear that for the sake of fans paying their hard-earned money to see their favorite players come to town, something’s gotta give.