The Cavaliers locked up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference yesterday. They can't catch the Hawks at the top either, so the Cavs' last four games are basically meaningless. After their win in Milwaukee last night, the following nugget of information was revealed:
Though not finalized, LeBron James hinted he'll sit the next 2 games. Both are against Celtics so it could affect playoff race/seedings
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 9, 2015
Cleveland hosts Boston tomorrow, then the teams will square off at the TD Garden on Sunday. As of this moment, the Celtics hold the No. 7 seed in the East and will play the Cavs in Round 1 of the playoffs if nothing changes.
The other day a report surfaced that some NBA "execs" felt Atlanta would most like to play Boston out of its potential opening-round opponents. The Nets, Heat and Pacers (now that Paul George is back) all have more talented players on their rosters than the Celtics do.
It stands to reason the Cavs might prefer Boston as well, and if they wanted to they could try to make it happen by dropping both contests this weekend. In losing a pair of games to the Celtics, LeBron and company would also go a long way toward keeping his former Miami squad out of the postseason. Is that something James is interested in?
Two things worth noting here:
1. Resting LeBron alone would in no way represent the Cavaliers handing these games to Boston--if they intend to do that they probably need to sit Kyrie Irving and other starters as well.
2. Could you really see Cleveland tanking a pair of late-season games against a squad it would then meet in a playoff series a week later? My guess is no.
That sort of thing does happen though. Three years ago, Doc Rivers sat Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo in the third-to-last game of the season in Atlanta. The Celtics and Hawks were on track to meet in the 4 vs. 5 matchup, and in giving away that game Rivers handed home court advantage for the series to Atlanta. The C's new they were the better team, and they just didn't care.
Boston won that series in six.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan Mark Van Deusen 4/09/2015 01:50:00 PM Tweet Edit