Critics have spoken out against the Cleveland Cavaliers for benching star players LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on Saturday’s (Mar. 18) game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Many were disappointed about not seeing the Cavs’ key players on the court, and the Cavs were ultimately washed out by the Clippers (108-78).
James spoke to reporters after the Cavs’ Sunday (Mar. 19) win against the Lakers, and suggested that the situation at hand is out of the players’ and the league’s control. He ultimately believes that benching star players is not an issue, but something that must happen in the league every so often.
“I don’t think the NBA can do anything about it,” he said. ” 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.”
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was also taking Irving and Love’s health into consideration. According to ESPN, Kyrie Irving at times suffers from left knee pain (the knee that required surgery in 2015), and Kevin Love is still on a minutes restriction after his arthroscopic knee surgery in February.
“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,” he continued. “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.” The power forward said that he wanted to play during the game, but he trusts his coach’s instincts in keeping him out since Lue has “never steered [him] wrong.”
CBS Sports reports that this is the second occurrence of the NBA benching key players in just a few weeks. The Golden State Warriors benched Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in a Mar. 11 game against the San Antonio Spurs, where they lost 105-87.