LeBron James didn’t play for the Cavs against the Miami Heat on Monday night, one day after Cleveland blew a 26-point fourth-quarter lead in an overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The team said he was dealing with a calf issue. Or he could’ve been tired from a night at the club following the loss to the Hawks. Either way.
According to TMZ, James, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson flew from Atlanta to Miami immediately following Sunday night’s loss and went straight to LIV nightclub, where someone captured him on video.
To be fair, James played 47 minutes in Sunday night’s loss to the Hawks. But on the other hand, the Cavs are chasing the Boston Celtics for the No. 1 seed in the East and now are one game back with one game to play following Monday night’s 124-121 overtime loss in Miami. Should Cleveland and Boston finish with identical regular season records, the Cavs would earn the East’s top seed by virtue of their 3-1 regular season series win over the Celtics. But now that’s out of their hands because all Boston needs to do is beat Milwaukee at home on Wednesday to clinch the top spot. A Celtics loss combined with a Cleveland win against the Raptors on the same night would give the Cavs the No. 1 seed, but it looks as if James won’t be playing in that one, either.
LeBron James will not play in Wednesday's season finale against the Raptors, per a team source. Kyrie Irving is a possibility, however.— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydNBA) April 11, 2017
James hasn’t played in a regular season finale since 2007, according to the Associated Press, so him sitting out Wednesday’s game is far from unusual. Nevertheless, one has to wonder what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver thinks about the “calf issue” that kept James out of Monday’s game, considering his public stance that teams resting their stars for perhaps dubious reasons has “become an extremely significant issue for our league.”
In any case, expect James to be rested and ready for Cleveland’s playoff opener either Saturday or Sunday (last year’s playoff opener was on a Sunday, for what that’s worth).
Somewhat related footnote: You may recall LIV as the Miami hotspot where Odell Beckham Jr. and some of his Giants teammates partied immediately after New York’s regular season finale against the Redskins in January. Beckham and Co. were pilloried for their South Beach excursion, seeing as how the Giants had a playoff game the next weekend (they lost). James, so far, has escaped such scrutiny.