The Warriors should rest their starters
The Golden State Warriors should rest their starters and key rotation players against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day.
The Golden State Warriors can roll out a lineup with four All-NBA players, two MVPs, and a Finals MVP. They play against the Cleveland Cavaliers today on Christmas Day in a highly anticipated rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. The Dubs should not use their star-studded lineup.
In fact, they should have most of their stars in suits on the bench. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson should join the rest of the rabid fans in the Quicken Loans Arena and enjoy an NBA game from the comfort of their seats. Steve Kerr should rest them.
Sure, there are practical reasons why you’d rest those players. It’s a long and grueling season. The Dubs have had a few hard fought road games over the past week so the guys could use some rest. A game in December isn’t worth losing lift in June for. The Warriors have had two consecutive deep playoff runs so finding as much as rest as possible for them would be nice as they try to make a third one.
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But the real value in resting some of the Warriors’ key players is about psychological warfare. Mind games can be more successful, in the long run, than any individual play that the coaching staff can draw it. The Warriors can get in the Cavaliers’ heads while not showing their hand.
Golden State wants revenge. There’s no doubt about it. Green isn’t hiding it. After how last season ended, they want blood (or…as close as they can get to that on a basketball court). But it’s important for them to realize that the war isn’t won in the winter, it’s won in the summer.
Resting the players shows that this game doesn’t mean as much to the Warriors as it does to Cleveland, who just can’t seem to stop thinking about the Dubs. Whether it’s Iman Shumpert talking about them or LeBron James throwing a party with Warriors-themed decorations, the Cavaliers just love Golden State.
Perhaps it’s fear. The Cavaliers found themselves with a lot of good fortune over the last three games of the NBA Finals as they earned a championship. Game 7 was a tight one and Cleveland had just enough friendly rolls to win the series. They barely beat a hobbled and sputtering Golden State team.
Now, that team is healthy and armed with Kevin Durant. This is a challenge unlike anything they’ve faced. The Warriors may not win 73 games like last year’s team, but they are most definitely a better team.
Golden State can give themselves a mental edge over Cleveland by resting players. It shows a certain kind of indifference. It gives the Cavaliers even more time to worry about Durant’s Warriors. The only thing scarier than not knowing your opponent has a weapon of mass destruction is knowing that they do and there’s nothing you can do about it when they finally decide to unleash it.
Kerr would get hit with a huge fine, like Gregg Popovich did a few years back when he rested his San Antonio Spurs starters against James’ Miami Heat in a marquee matchup. If the team wanted to start a GoFundMe page, I’d gladly chip in a few bucks and I’m confident Warriors fans everywhere would too.
In addition to the advantage it creates over Cleveland, it would be a pretty hilarious hit to the league. The NBA needs this game. It’s the highlight of their Christmas Day slate of games by far. It would really be unfortunate if the person in power made an unnecessary decision on a player’s availability right before a huge game.
Kerr won’t rest anyone and, quite frankly, even if he suggested it, there’s no way Green and co. would let themselves sit this one out. But it’s funny to think of a road game against James and Kyrie Irving in which Ian Clark and Kevon Looney are starting and JaVale McGee has to play 30 minutes. It would sure be fun to see, in a different way.