An Irving triple put Cleveland ahead, 109-106, with four minutes to play and they held on to bounce back from a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Instead, the Clippers who entered the game amid a troubling slide emerged from it victorious, but with no real sense of whether they had addressed their issues. James, Irving and Love combined for 74 points, 30 rebounds and 25 assists in a 119-108 win over the Lakers at home earlier this season.
"I can't make [James] drag himself through this tonight by himself and then have everybody else play tomorrow and still not win", Griffin said. Rivers said that the National Basketball Association should "protect its product" and reduce the number of back-to-back games.
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving exploded for 46 points on 15-of-21 shooting Sunday, adding 3 assists and 2 rebounds in 38 minutes of action as the Cavs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 125-120.
With Love and Irving benefiting from an extra day of rest, Lue chose to hold out James as well, with the coach telling reporters that the decision made James "pissed".
"I liked our defensive spirit and our (talking)", said Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who scored a game-high 23 points with eight rebounds in three quarters. "We communicated. Offense will come and go, but defense is something that you hang your hat on and that is where you build your trust as a team". "There are some times guys have to rest, and some guys need rest". Are they willing to sacrifice the chance to see their favorite players during the regular season if it means extending the season into June for the third consecutive year?
Rivers recommended the league refrain from scheduling teams playing in marquee nationally broadcast games for two games in as many days.
"But coach's job is to figure out a way to get a team to compete for a championship, and not compete for a game". "So, I don't see there's a problem going on with our league. I don't feel like we did anything terribly egregious".
Kyrie Irving cited Gregg Popovich and the Spurs for kicking off this trend of benching stars, and you can't say it hasn't been fruitful for the teams that do it.
After the game, Cavs' coach Tyronn Lue was asked if whether the Cavs could afford to take games off like this, given the hard fact that their lead in the Eastern conference has reduced to 1.5 games over the Boston Celtics. "Hopefully we can spread (the schedule) out a little bit more and get guys a little bit more rest".