As preseason winds down, NBA stars are getting some rest
And they weren’t alone around the NBA on Saturday, either.
The Boston Celtics left the biggest two stars on their roster — both of whom are coming off serious injuries, and now apparently dealing with far more minor ones — out of the lineup for their preseason finale at Cleveland.
The official reasons where lower back pain for Hayward and a rib contusion for Irving.
Hayward’s last game at Cleveland was opening night of the regular season a year ago, when he suffered a gruesome ankle and leg injury that ended his season. Irving was sidelined for the final month of the regular season and the entirety of Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals with a knee problem. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers kept Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, George Hill and Kyle Korver out of the matchup.
At the Indiana-Memphis game, the Pacers rested their entire projected starting five — Victor Oladipo, Darren Collison, Thad Young, Myles Turner, and Bojan Bogdanovic. And the Grizzlies sat some regulars as well, including Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, with neither move there coming as a surprise given that Memphis was playing a preseason back-to-back and both of those veterans played Friday against Atlanta.
And when the Lakers and Clippers met in the last of three preseason contests Saturday, LeBron James was sitting out to rest. The Lakers were also without Lonzo Ball again, though he may play before the preseason ends.
All those rest moves Saturday came one day after San Antonio lost rookie guard Lonnie Walker IV for several weeks with a torn meniscus. Walker got hurt in the Spurs’ preseason game Friday, and will have surgery on Monday.
CAVALIERS 113, CELTICS 102
Ante Zizic scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Collin Sexton had 13 points for Cleveland.
Sexton made 4 of 6 from the field, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range and Jordan Clarkson added 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in 14 minutes. Larry Nance Jr. had 10 points for Cleveland (2-0).
“He wants to be so tough in that situation,” Smith said of Smart. “He leads the league in flops, easily. You can’t flop as much as you do and then be tough. How does that even work?”
CELTICS: Kyrie Irving announced on Thursday that he intends to re-sign with the Celtics (1-3) after season’s end. … Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each scored eight points while combining to shoot just 7 of 22 from the field, including 0 for 4 from behind the arc.
UP NEXT: Boston returns home to play Philadelphia in the season opener on October 16. … Cleveland continues preseason play at home against Indiana on Monday.
Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 18 points and Wayne Selden had 16 points, nine assists and two steals for Memphis.
Domantas Sabonis had 17 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for Indiana (1-1). Aaron Holiday, picked 23rd overall in June’s draft, hit 4 of 8 from 3-point range and finished with 20 points but committed eight turnovers.
PACERS: Tyreke Evans, who scored 19.4 points per game while playing for Memphis last season, had 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting. … Alize Johnson, the 50th overall selection in the draft out of Missouri State, had eight points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes.
Lou Williams hit 3 of 4 from 3-point range and finished with 19 points and Tobias Harris had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers.
CLIPPERS: Marcin Gortat, acquired via trade from Washington in June, had 10 points, on 5-of-7 shooting, and nine rebounds in 21 minutes. … Avery Bradley scored two points and committed five turnovers in 26 minutes. He had made 3 of 16 from the field, including 1 of 10 from 3-point range, in two games this preseason.
UP NEXT: The Lakers (1-3) play Golden State at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday. … The Clippers (3-0) play host to Denver on Tuesday.