After the Cavaliers beat the Grizzlies on Tuesday night, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue made a sensible but disappointing announcement: His three best players—LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love—would not travel with the team to Memphis for the rematch with the Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Per ESPN:

“If his body was hurting that much, legs were tired, makes sense to give (Irving) a little extra rest,” Lue said. “Bron’s (rest) coming up was the back to back, and Kevin’s back has been tight a little bit. And we made the decision, so that’s what we’re doing.”

 

Of course, it’s easy to see why Lue made this decision. Home-road back-to-backs are never easy, and all three stars have confessed to feeling worn down or beaten up (Irving already sat out Tuesday due to “tired legs”). The Cavs played all the way to Game 7 of the NBA Finals last season and may do so again this season, and they’ll need fresh legs come April and May.

But still, as an NBA fan you have to be kind of bummed whenever this happens. Mass benchings of a teams best players, as pioneered by Gregg Popovich, deprive fans at the games of the show they came to see and discourage those at home from watching on TV. They diminish the chance there will be a crazy highlight that ignites interest on social media and the chance there will be a fun moment that keeps the NBA at the forefront of water-cooler talk the next day.

We can’t blame Lue for doing what’s best for his team in the long-run, but it’s fair to question the NBA schedule. If there’s truly no way to avoid home-road back-to-backs in the middle of the season, maybe the league should seriously consider cutting a few games or spacing out the current 82 contests a little more to provide team extra rest. What’s the point of playing 82 games if the best players aren’t going to appear in all of them?

LeBron, Irving and Love all said the right things Tuesday, unanimously backing Lue’s decision, according to ESPN, but that doesn’t make things any better for the fans watching at home or at the arena. Per ESPN, DeAndre Liggins, Iman Shumpert and James Jones will start in place of Irving, James and Love. We won’t be watching.

[ESPN]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

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