(Reuters) – Cleveland’s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are going to be rested for Wednesday’s road game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA champions have announced.
James, Irving and Love will not make the trip to Memphis, continuing a recent trend of NBA teams periodically resting their best players during the regular season.
Four-times NBA most valuable player James said he was happy to abide by coach Tyronn Lue’s decision.
“I shouldn’t have to explain me sitting out games,” James said after the 103-86 victory over the Grizzlies in Cleveland on Tuesday.
The teams meet again some 24 hours later in what will be Cleveland’s only visit to Memphis this season.
Lue’s decision will deprive Memphis fans of the chance to see some of the biggest names in basketball.
“I’ve been in this league 14 years. I’ve paid my dues and more than a lot of guys,” James continued.
“I’ve played in every arena. My coach wanted to rest us. I’m not going to buck my coach. That’s what he wants and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Many NBA coaches rest their top players occasionally during the arduous 82-game regular season, more often than not for road games.
The trend has prompted the league to make an effort to schedule fewer games for teams on consecutive nights.
Irving was also rested on Tuesday, after the guard complained of “dead legs” in his previous game on Saturday.
Lue said he decided to play James and Love on Tuesday to increase the chances of winning the first of the back-to-back games, before giving them both a night off.
Former NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas disagreed with Lue’s decision, saying teams had a responsibility to suit up their stars, especially on the road.
“That’s part of making our game global. That’s the responsibility of being an entertainer,” Thomas said on NBA Network.
“It’s like when you’ve got a ticket to see Beyonce, and she says ‘I’m not showing up, you’re going to get the back-ups’, (you’re) going to (want) a refund.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney)