LeBron James did not play Sunday against the Washington Wizards in order to rest, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said before the game.
“Just having three games in four nights, an early game and we just played in Toronto the other day,” Lue explained before Washington beat Cleveland 113-99. “I just felt today is a good game to get him a break and give him a rest.”
It is just the second game James has missed all season. He also sat out the Cavs’ 99-84 loss to the Miami Heat on Dec. 5 on the second night of a back-to-back. The Wizards game marked the start of a back-to-back for the Cavs, with Cleveland hosting the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
James played 40 minutes, including the entire second half, in the Cavs’ 99-97 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday.
“He didn’t want to come out,” Lue said. “He didn’t want to come out. I should’ve got him out, but he didn’t want to come out. As the game started down the stretch getting close, I said I’m going to get you out for a couple minutes. He said, ‘No!’ He went crazy. That kind of has something to do with sitting him today, an early game at 1 o’clock.”
After James had one of his worst performances of the season — 12 points on 5-for-18 shooting with six turnovers — in the Cavs’ 96-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons last week, Lue said his “gut” instinct was to rest him, and he wished he had followed through.
If this is a sign of James, a 31-year-old in his 13th season, slowing down, he isn’t about to admit it. He recently said, “This year I feel 10 times better than I did last year,” when asked about his health