LeBron James, Chris Bosh have night off as Heat prepare for playoffs
WASHINGTON — Choosing rest for the playoffs over the pursuit of a top seed, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave LeBron James and Chris Bosh the night off Monday against the Washington Wizards.
Spoelstra said James was dealing with "the residual of a long season."
"Just where we are right now, he’s dealing with some minor ailments," Spoelstra said. "Nothing that’s significant enough that will keep him out. Same thing with Chris. We made this decision and everyone else is ready to go. Everything is day by day."
James has made a routine of sitting out the end of the regular season since joining the Heat. He missed the final game in 2011 and the last two games in both 2012 and 2013.
The Heat have been competing with the Indiana Pacers for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Pacers trimmed their magic number to one with a win over Oklahoma City on Sunday. Miami could claim first place only with wins over Washington on Monday and Philadelphia on Wednesday, along with a loss by Indiana to Orlando on Wednesday.
The Heat are expected to open their first-round playoff series at home this weekend.
Spoelstra, as he has during the season’s homestretch, again downplayed the pursuit the top seed.
"No matter who’s playing, all we can do is focus on us," he said.
The Heat were also without Greg Oden, who did not make the trip to D.C. because of a stomach virus.
Dwyane Wade, who recently returned after missing nine games with a sore right hamstring, was listed in the starting lineup.