LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving all sitting out Cavaliers’ finale
UPDATE: In a last minute change of plans, the Cavaliers decided to rest Kyrie Irving for the game as well, despite having previously announced him as a starter.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James is getting another day to rest up for the playoffs by sitting out the Cavaliers’ regular-season finale against Detroit - Cleveland’s first-round opponent.
The Cavs clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference this week and coach Tyronn Lue will use the last game to keep James and starters Kevin Love and J.R. Smith fresh. Cleveland initially said point guard Kyrie Irving would also rest, then the team changed his status about three hours before the opening tip Wednesday night saying he would start, then just before the game changed that status again and decided to rest Irving.
Cleveland will face the Pistons in Game 1 this weekend.
The only other starter expected to play is Tristan Thompson, who will be appearing in his 370th consecutive game. Lue named Thompson his starter for the postseason, moving him into the lineup ahead of center Timofey Mozgov, who has had a disappointing season.
The Cavs also signed guard Dahntay Jones for the postseason. The 6-foot-6, 11-year veteran played for Grand Rapids in the NBA Development League. A first-round pick by Boston in 2003, Jones has played in 49 career postseason games and is a solid defender.
With Iman Shumpert slowed by an injured left knee, Jones gives the Cavs another perimeter defender.
Jones is excited about joining a team with a legitimate chance at winning a title.
“I’m still the same defensive-minded individual I was many years ago,” said Jones. “I had to adapt and make my niche throughout the league in that respect. I’m willing to do anything on the defensive end and help out and try to communicate and just try to be as vocal as possible.”