I’m not sure if this has happened before but for two Saturdays in a row, the NBA’s primetime Saturday night game will be played without some of its biggest names. The Cleveland Cavaliers announced they will hold off superstars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love against the Los Angeles Clippers a week after Steve Kerr chose to rest everybody but their ballboys against San Antonio (who were also without Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge).
After Michael Wilbon questioned how Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson — he of the 437 consecutive game streak — can beg his way into the game and James couldn’t, ABC turned to Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy, who respectively called the decision “an absolute joke” and “a prosecutable offense.”
The folks at ABC aren’t too happy about the Cavs sitting LeBron, Kyrie + Love tonight. pic.twitter.com/jeaho7Bjzq
— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) March 19, 2017
“I understand the medical information that we are acquiring,” said Jackson. “I even understand that we are getting more and more data to protect the players, but this still is an absolute joke. Who is protecting the fans? Who is protecting the game of basketball? Something’s gotta be done.”
“If this was any other business, it would be a prosecutable offense — this type of bait-and-switch maneuver that the NBA allows its teams to pull,” added Van Gundy, “and quite frankly, if you look at the athletic performance teams, these groups that are supposedly preventing injury, when I look at the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’ve been injured all year, so how good are they doing at what they say the can accomplish?”
It might be a little better if the Cavs sent James and the others a memo to fake it a little bit. But seeing The King sipping coffee over there at the bench makes it a whole lot harder to swallow.
NBD, just LeBron James sippin’ some coffee on his day off
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) March 19, 2017