We know; we hardly believed it, either, but it's true! After Tuesday night's 122-102 home win over the Magic, the Cavs are downright rolling through the end of the regular season.
The good times could come to a stop very quickly, however. LeBron James & Co. face the Boston Celtics next, on the second night of a back-to-back.
It should be an epic contest with the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed on the line — or that's what we expect, anyway. But if the Cavs are smart, they'll send a clear message to the Celtics by resting their stars on Wednesday.
The Cavs' defensive problems can be solved ... but not against Boston
To be clear, coach Tyronn Lue already told the media he plans on playing all of his players against the Celtics. Chances are you'll see LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the court against Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Al Horford.
That would be an egregious mistake.
At this point in the season, the Cavs aren't going to work out their problems on the court during games. Their remedies will come in the film room and in practice. More importantly, Cleveland desperately needs rest up and down the roster headed into the postseason.
They're exhausted from three straight championship pushes (yes, even though Love and Irving were injured the first time) and the exertion necessary to come back from a 3-1 Finals deficit.
It's that same exhaustion, though, that gives Cleveland hope as the playoffs loom. We saw with Orlando what happens when the Cavs really try. They turned a shocking deficit to the Magic into a blowout victory simply by making an effort.
And the reason Cleveland doesn't make an effort on a nightly basis — or even from one possession to the next — is because the regular season doesn't matter. The Cavs know they'll need every last bit of energy they have in the Finals.
So why risk injury and fatigue against the Celtics? After all, Boston's been waiting for this one ever since it topped the Cavs last month. The Celtics are ready to scratch and claw for a win that means much, much more to them than it does to Cleveland.
Another loss to the Celtics would be a nightmare
The last thing the Cavs want to do is give the Celtics another dose of confidence.
Can you imagine a ragged, beat-down Cleveland team taking the court against Boston on Wednesday just to watch as Isaiah Thomas and the rest of the Celtics run circles around them?
I can. It's easy, really. The Celtics will want this one more than the Cavaliers, particularly with the game in Boston. Every successful bucket and defensive stop will convince the Celtics they can hang with the Cavs — or, perhaps, that they're actually the better team.
That kind of self-belief is vital for a young squad still trying to get out of the first round for the first time in the Brad Stevens era. Does Cleveland really want to be the team that vaults Boston to the next level?
There's just no upside for the Cavaliers on Wednesday night, especially when you consider the alternative.
Here's the message the Cavs would send by resting
Rather than propping up the Celtics by handing them a win on a silver platter, then, the Cavaliers should reach deep into their bag of tricks and play some mind games on Wednesday.
Resting the Big Three would send a very clear message to Boston: "We don't need home-court advantage to beat you in the playoffs, and we know it." It completely flips the script from the Celtics having the Cavs' number to Cleveland not caring one iota about Boston.
And above all else, sitting everyone would keep the Cavs away from each others' throats when the game inevitably came down to the final few minutes.
Cleveland is a no-win situation headed to Boston on Wednesday. When you can't win, there's only one way out: Don't play.
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