The Cavs are doing the Miami Heat a major favor on Monday night by resting starters LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson as they play their penultimate game of the 2016-17 regular season. They may also be helping out the Washington Wizards, depending on how you look at it.
Basically, the Cavs are giving the Heat a break in a game Miami needs to win as they fight for the eighth playoff spot. And why that could be good for the Wizards is because the Cavs are currently tied for the best record in the East with the Celtics. The Cavs have the tiebreaker, so as of now they would face the Wizards if both teams advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
If the Cavs were to slip to second, the Wizards - who are locked into the fourth seed - would not have to face Cleveland until the Eastern Conference Finals. There are a lot of hypotheticals needed in order to get there, but that would seem to be an easier road to the conference finals than having to go through the Cavs in the second round.
Then again, some might argue the Wizards would match up better with the Cavs than with Boston in the second round, as our Wizards Insider J. Michael wrote on Monday morning. If that is the case, perhaps Cleveland would be helping themselves by falling out of the top spot in the East. They would also then ensure they don't have to play the Heat in the first round, a team that has proven they are much better than their record since mid-January.