Cleveland Cavaliers stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will not play tonight, according to Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue. The idea behind the night off for James and Irving is to given both of them rest.
The Cavaliers played last night against the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta, a game in-which Irving lead the way with 43 points and 9 assists. James added in a near triple double with 38 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists in the 135-130 win.
James played 39 minutes in the win, while Irving logged 36 minutes of playing time. Lue said that while Irving is significantly younger than James, rest is needed for the both of them versus the Miami heat tonight.
“He needs the rest also,” Lue said of Irving, per ESPN. “For what we’re trying to do and where we’re trying to go, he needs the rest also.”
This will be the 5th game of the 2016-2017 season that James won’t appear in. Cleveland is 0-4 up until this point in games where the 32-year-old James doesn’t play, and have yet to beat the Heat in Miami since James made the decision to return to Cleveland in 2014.
With James and Irving out, the Cavaliers will start Deron Williams, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver, James Jones, and Tristan Thompson against the Heat. This will be Williams’ first start with the Cavaliers since officially signing with the team on Monday.
Forwards Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye will also receive more playing time, and DeAndre Liggins is a candidate to be the backup point guard to Williams. Forward Derrick Williams is also a candidate for more playing time, as he is playing the Heat for the first time since he was waived by the team earlier this season.
James is averaging 25.9 points, 8.9 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game on the year, while Irving is averaging 25.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.
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