LeBron James, David Blatt differ over importance of playoff seeding
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt and LeBron James apparently see things differently regarding how the team should view the importance of postseason positioning.
Following Monday’s loss to the Miami Heat, the Cavs are 43-26 and sit as the No. 2 seed in the East, two games ahead of the Toronto Raptors. With the Atlanta Hawks (53-14) firmly entrenched as the No. 1 seed, Blatt stressed that it’s imperative the Cavaliers hold onto the No. 2 seed.
“We got to finish in second place,” he said, via an ESPN report.
Blatt, given the relative tightness of the race for the No. 2 seed, said the team will consider sitting players in an effort to get them some rest them heading into the postseason if the opportunity provides itself.
Kevin Love sat out of Sunday’s game against the Orlando Magic as well as Monday’s tilt against the Heat, so the Cavs have set a precedence for resting players. Given that James has dealt with some injury issues this season — and presently is a bit bruised and battered to boot — perhaps it would be wise to get him some rest, too.
The notion of sitting out a game or two down the stretch suits James just fine, even if it comes at the cost of slipping in the standings. According to James, rest and health are far more important than clinching the No. 2 seed.
“The coaching staff, if that’s what they want, but for me, I never play for seeding. I just play,” he said. “And wherever at the end of the season we land, I’m ready. Just get me in the playoffs. Get me in the playoffs…”
When asked about his vision for how the team should approach the final 13 games of the season, James expressed an opinion that somewhat differed from his coach.
“Health,” James said. “Health and chemistry. We got to continue to build our chemistry. We’re a young group, as far as cohesiveness on the floor. So we got to continue to build that, and we got to be healthy during the playoffs.”
Odds are good that Blatt and James will be able to find some middle ground on this issue.
(photo credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)