Doc Rivers: 'Not cool' for Cavs to rest LeBron for primetime game

Doc Rivers: 'Not cool' for Cavs to rest LeBron for primetime game

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LOS ANGELES -- When the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to rest LeBron JamesKyrie Irving and Kevin Love in the same game, they also provided a welcome boost to the Los Angeles Clippers, who got to sit their own starters for the entire fourth quarter of a predictably one-sided victory.

The fans paying for high-priced Staples Center seats, or tuning in for a national television game between title contenders?

They all lost out, thanks to the unsavory choices prompted by the NBA's demanding schedule.

Blake Griffin scored 23 points and the Clippers snapped their three-game losing streak with a 108-78 win over Cleveland on Saturday night.

But the Clippers' domination of the Cavs' supporting cast added another chapter to the NBA's long-running debate on rest. Coaches are increasingly choosing caution over competitiveness, and both Cleveland's Tyronn Lue and Los Angeles' Doc Rivers expressed ambivalence about the choice Lue felt he had to make.

"There is a fan base that probably bought tickets tonight to see LeBron James play for the first time," said Rivers, who rested Griffin on Thursday. "They didn't get a chance to see that, and that's not cool."

The crowd hated Lue's decision, reacting with confusion when the starting lineups were announced and then booing James when he joined the Cavs on the bench early in the first quarter. "We Want LeBron!" chants were taken up by much of the crowd on several occasions.

"I heard," Lue said. "I wanted him, too."

Lue said Love already was scheduled to sit out this game in his comeback from left knee surgery, and Irving left Thursday's game at Utah early with tightness in his own left knee. With the Cavs beginning a stretch of eight games in 14 days, Lue also decided to rest James instead of allowing him to play without his full supporting cast.

"It's a long season, and a lot of games," Lue said. "We have a lot of back-to-back games. Everybody has. Four in five nights are tough. Five in seven are tough. ... But it's been going on for years. It's not the first time we've done it. I think coaches are taking responsibility, trying to look after their players, make sure they get the proper rest."

James didn't speak to reporters before heading out into the Hollywood night, but Lue said the superstar didn't like the decision. Lue said his three stars all will return Sunday night against the woeful Lakers.

CLIPS CRUISE:
The result was not surprising - and perhaps just what the Clippers needed to shake up their team in a humdrum March. Los Angeles (41-29) had lost six of 10, and Oklahoma City is a half-game behind the Clippers for fifth place in the Western Conference.

J.J. Redick added 16 points as the Clippers swept their season series with the Cavs. Griffin poured in 13 points in the third quarter while Los Angeles pulled away.

"Playing against the best is the reason everyone wants to play in the NBA," Griffin said. "But at the same time, we'll take all of these wins. It's a bit of both. Not clear-cut one way or the other."

THE LEFTOVERS:
Channing Frye, Deron Williams and J.R. Smith started for Cleveland in the stars' place along with Iman Shumpert and Tristan Thompson. All five starters hit double figures.

The Cavaliers (45-22) have lost five of eight, but still lead Boston by 1 1/2 games atop the Eastern Conference. Richard Jefferson scored 12 to lead the Cavs in their lowest-scoring game of the season.

NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME:
For the second straight week, ABC's showcase Saturday night game was dampened by a coach's decision to sit his best players. Golden State's Steve Kerr sat Stephen CurryKlay ThompsonDraymond Green and Andre Iguodala for a showdown with San Antonio last week.

Rivers said the Saturday national games used to be protected against these problems because their afternoon starts prevented a team from being forced to play Friday night. The showcase is now an evening game.

"I think that we have to protect the national games," Rivers said. "We have to treat those games like they're afternoon games, and you don't play the night before, and you don't play the next night after. It sounds so easy, but it is not, because it's hard to schedule around that. It makes the rest of the schedule harder ... but the look of (these last two) back-to-back ABC national games is not good."

TIP-INS:
Cavaliers: Shumpert played after spraining his left shoulder Thursday. ... Kyle Korver also missed his sixth straight game with a foot injury. Lue still hopes he can play on this road trip.

Clippers: Rivers flatly rejected a widely reported rumor of a possible reunion with the Orlando Magic: "I have a past with the Magic. I have no future. My future is here." Rivers coached the Magic from 1999-03. ... Chris Paul went 0 for 8 from the floor, but had seven assists.

UP NEXT:
Cavaliers: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Clippers: Host the New York Knicks on Monday.

Kerr: Warriors could rest two key veterans during upcoming stretch

Kerr: Warriors could rest two key veterans during upcoming stretch

OAKLAND -- Though the Warriors on Sunday will begin a stretch in which they play three games in four nights and five in eight, coach Steve Kerr said there are no plans to rest anyone.

He did, however, leave open the possibility of sitting a couple veterans.

“The only guys who I would consider resting over the next week, barring injury, would be Shaun (Livingston) and Andre (Iguodala),” Kerr said Sunday afternoon, prior to tipoff against Memphis at Oracle Arena. “And that’s routine, because of the wear and tear, the age and the constant monitoring we’re doing with those guys.

“But the schedule is fine. I’m not planning on resting anybody in San Antonio.”

After facing the Grizzlies, the Warriors on Monday fly to Houston, where on Tuesday night they will play the Rockets. The following night, they face the Spurs in a game of particular significance.

Though the Warriors are assured of having the homecourt advantage should they make it to the NBA Finals, they have yet to reach that status in the Western Conference. The Spurs were two games back prior to the Warriors-Grizzlies game.

After returning home from San Antonio, the Warriors face the Rockets next Friday night and the Washington Wizards at home on April 2.

All five teams during this stretch are either in the playoffs and likely to be in. The Warriors entered Sunday with a combined 2-6 record against those teams.

NBA Gameday: Revenge on Warriors' mind against Grizzlies

NBA Gameday: Revenge on Warriors' mind against Grizzlies

OAKLAND -- Forgive the Warriors if they have a measure of vengeance on their minds when the step on the floor Sunday afternoon.

They’ll be staring at the Memphis Grizzlies, who came into Oracle Arena on Jan. 6 and handed the Warriors perhaps their most galling regular-season loss in three years, wiping out a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a 128-119 victory in overtime. It was the first time in 55 years a team had staged a comeback of that magnitude against the team with the best record in the league.

The Warriors (58-14), who have been the NBA’s best home team since 2014, will be seeking to even the season series as well as win their seventh consecutive game.

One of the surprise teams of the NBA in the first half of the season, the Grizzlies (40-32) have come back to reality, going 6-8 since the All-Star break. They’ve lost their last two, at New Orleans and at San Antonio.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 10.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: It has become cliché to say Conley is underrated, so we’ll just say he’s the NBA’s finest unsung point guard. Curry and his teammates know this. Conley this season is averaging career-highs in scoring (20.0 points per game), field -goal percentage (44.9) and 3-point field-goal percentage (39.7). Curry, of course, is the back-to-back MVP and the man most likely to feel salty about that Jan. 6 loss. He also has been playing well of late. These two will generally dictate the fortunes of their respective teams.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain and bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (L foot strain) is out. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) is listed as out. G Wade Baldwin, C Deyonta Davis and Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 7-3. Grizzlies: 4-6.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have lost two of three meetings earlier this season but have won nine of the last 12 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
THE PACE GAME: The Grizzlies are deliberate and ultra-physical. They prefer to play at a crawl; they rank 28th in pace. Their philosophy is to stay close through three quarters and find a way to win in the fourth. The Warriors want to play at jackrabbit speed; they’re third in pace. The team that can impose its style gains a massive advantage.

OPENING/CLOSING STATEMENTS: The Warriors will seek to build an early lead in hopes of enlarging their margin for error. They may need any cushion they can create, as they well know the Grizzlies thrive in the clutch. Memphis is 15-6 in “super-clutch games (within 3 points in the final minute or regulation or OT).

KLAY AND THE GRINDFATHER: Memphis guard Tony Allen takes particular pride in his ability to defend, and he goes after Klay Thompson like a lion chasing a gazelle. Each has had his individual triumphs over the other, and their battle occasionally influences the outcome. Thompson won the last, torching the Grizzlies for 36 points last month in Memphis. Allen surely remembers that.