Cleveland Cavs hear from NBA office after sitting Big 3 in loss to Clippers

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2017/03/19/cleveland-cavs-res
BYMichael Singer , USA TODAY Published 10:29 a.m. ET March 19, 2017 | Updated 8:39 a.m. ET March 20, 2017
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A look back at the top moments from this past weekend in the NBA. USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) and Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) on the bench during the first half of a NBA game against the LA Clippers at the Staples Center.(Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

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For the second consecutive Saturday night ABC game, an NBA team opted to sit its stars in front of a national audience.

But Cleveland Cavaliers coach Ty Lue's decision, unlike Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr's last week, was prompted by injuries. Cavs forward Kevin Love was never going to play Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers after returning from knee surgery on Thursday night. Point guard Kyrie Irving, who left Thursday's win over the Utah Jazz with left knee soreness, didn't need to be put in harm's way, either.

With Love and Irving already sitting, Lue opted to rest a healthy LeBron James as well, which was the move that drew the NBA's ire.

According to ESPN, the NBA office called Cavs GM David Griffin seven minutes after it was announced that the Cavs were resting their stars.

"Yeah, they were not happy," Griffin said. "I feel bad for the league. I really do. But it is what it is for us from an injury standpoint."

More on NBA stars resting:

For the second week in a row, a national TV audience (not to mention a home crowd - the Warriors were pummeled by the Spurs in San Antonio last weekend ) - didn't get what they had bargained for. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said that if teams wanted to rest their stars, he hoped that they would at least do it at home, so fans would have another chance to see star players. This weekend was the Cavs' only trip to Los Angeles this season, though they'll play the Lakers on Sunday.

Not surprisingly, some Clippers fans began "We want LeBron" chants to no avail. Also not surprisingly, the Cavs scored a season-low 78 points in the 30-point drubbing Saturday night. Their previous low (85) came against Memphis, which was the last time Lue opted to rest his starters. According to Lue, James wasn't happy about the decision.

"It's tricky. He's pissed, but it's my decision, it's the medical staff's decision, and that's what we came up with," Lue said.

More NBA news:

Were the Cavs concerned about ABC and fans paying significant money to watch James and company?

"Yeah, and they're paying me to win a championship," Griffin told ESPN. "We literally had one guy rest tonight and everybody else was reasonably injured. I don't feel like we did anything terribly egregious."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers can commiserate with Lue's decision, even though his team snapped a three-game losing streak under the odd circumstance.

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

I think we have to protect the national TV games," he added. "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's not because it's hard to schedule around that."

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Michael Singer on Twitter @msinger.

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Brooklyn won in double overtime.  Brad Penner, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 28, 2016: Heat guard Rodney McGruder dunks on Celtics center Tyler Zeller at American Airlines Arena  Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 27, 2016: Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell (7) and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) fight for the loose ball during the second half at the American Airlines Center.  Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 26, 2016: Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) dunks the ball over San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) in the third quarter at Verizon Center.  Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 25, 2016: LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) makes a dunk against Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes (12) during the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills.  Raj Mehta-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 23, 2016: Atlanta Hawks guard Malcolm Delaney (5) fight through a screen and is fouled by Jeff Teague (44) in the second half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.  Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 23, 2016: New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) drives to the basket past Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless (4) during the second half at Madison Square Garden.  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) after dunking the ball in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves as center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) looks on at Target Center. The Boston Celtics beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 99-93.  Brad Rempel, Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 20, 2016: Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) misses the pass at the net during the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.  Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 19, 2016: Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) spins as Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) defends during the second quarter at Verizon Center.  Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 18, 2016: Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson passes the ball while defended by Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas in Denver.  Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 17, 2016: Rockets forward Montrezl Harrell dunks against the Blazers in Houston.  Erik Williams, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov 16, 2016: Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) reacts to a foul call in the second half of the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center.  Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY SporFullscreen Nov. 15, 2016: LeBron James fights for position with DeMar DeRozan during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena.  Jason Miller, Getty ImagesFullscreen Nov. 14, 2016: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) makes a dunk on Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (13) during the first quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills.  Raj Mehta-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 13, 2016: Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) drives to the basket between Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) and guard Andre Roberson (21) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 12, 2016: New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) and Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) try to defend during the first quarter in a game at Air Canada Centre.  Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 11, 2016: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots the ball as Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) looks on at the buzzer in the second quarter at Verizon Center.  Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 10, 2016: A fan displays his support for former Heat star Dwyane Wade after his return to Miami. In his first career game in South Beach as a visitor, Wade helped the Bulls win 98-95.  Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 9, 2016: Wizards guard John Wall (2) continues to yell at Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) even after being ejected during the second half in Washington. Wall was tossed for the second straight game, but the Wizards won 118-93.  Brad Mills, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Nov. 8, 2016: Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) rises up for a one-handed flush over Nets defender Justin Hamilton (41) during the first half in Brooklyn.  Brad Penner, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenReplay1 of 1502 of 1503 of 1504 of 1505 of 1506 of 1507 of 1508 of 1509 of 15010 of 15011 of 15012 of 15013 of 15014 of 15015 of 15016 of 15017 of 15018 of 15019 of 15020 of 15021 of 15022 of 15023 of 15024 of 15025 of 15026 of 15027 of 15028 of 15029 of 15030 of 15031 of 15032 of 15033 of 15034 of 15035 of 15036 of 15037 of 15038 of 15039 of 15040 of 15041 of 15042 of 15043 of 15044 of 15045 of 15046 of 15047 of 15048 of 15049 of 15050 of 15051 of 15052 of 15053 of 15054 of 15055 of 15056 of 15057 of 15058 of 15059 of 15060 of 15061 of 15062 of 15063 of 15064 of 15065 of 15066 of 15067 of 15068 of 15069 of 15070 of 15071 of 15072 of 15073 of 15074 of 15075 of 15076 of 15077 of 15078 of 15079 of 15080 of 15081 of 15082 of 15083 of 15084 of 15085 of 15086 of 15087 of 15088 of 15089 of 15090 of 15091 of 15092 of 15093 of 15094 of 15095 of 15096 of 15097 of 15098 of 15099 of 150100 of 150101 of 150102 of 150103 of 150104 of 150105 of 150106 of 150107 of 150108 of 150109 of 150110 of 150111 of 150112 of 150113 of 150114 of 150115 of 150116 of 150117 of 150118 of 150119 of 150120 of 150121 of 150122 of 150123 of 150124 of 150125 of 150126 of 150127 of 150128 of 150129 of 150130 of 150131 of 150132 of 150133 of 150134 of 150135 of 150136 of 150137 of 150138 of 150139 of 150140 of 150141 of 150142 of 150143 of 150144 of 150145 of 150146 of 150147 of 150148 of 150149 of 150150 of 150AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsCONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
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