Cleveland Cavaliers Bench Kevin Love For Washington Wizards Game

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love will not be playing against the Washington Wizards tonight. According to the Plain Dealer, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has decided that it is more important for his players to get their rest and be ready for the NBA Playoffs as opposed to trying to win as many regular season games as possible. LeBron James has already been asked to take a seat on the bench, and now it is Love’s turn.

The last time that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards played one another, LeBron James wasn’t on the court. That was a big decision by Tyronn Lue, who felt that his star player needed some time for his body to recover. Richard Jefferson ended up starting at small forward. The veteran played 33 minutes, which is a lot more than he should be receiving at this point in his NBA career.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue Tyronn Lue [Photo by Elsa/Getty Images]Kyrie Irving played the role of franchise player against the Washington Wizards. He scored 28 points and dished out six assists. Unfortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers, that was not enough to overcome the Wizards. John Wall countered Irving with 21 points and 13 assists. At the end of the day, Washington scored the victory. However, that didn’t really matter all that much to Tyronn Lue because his goal of resting LeBron James was accomplished.

As hard as it is to sit star players, Tyronn Lue knows that is the right strategy to take at this point in the season. You’d rather have your entire roster prepared for the long battles in the NBA Playoffs than notch another regular season victory. The Cleveland Cavaliers are already in first place in the Eastern Conference. A loss isn’t going to hurt them that badly. They can still win enough games to lock down the top seed.

Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving [Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]Currently, the Washington Wizards are sitting on the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re desperately trying to get into the NBA Playoffs, so it would not come as a shock to see them playing especially harder against the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight. Even with Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love on the floor, the Wizards are going to battle extra hard so that they can pick up the victory, something that Tyronn Lue is very much aware of.

With Kevin Love not available, Tyronn Lue has a couple of options. The first choice is one of the newest players on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. Channing Frye, whom the team acquired from the Orlando Magic last month, can slide into the starting power forward position. At 6’11”, 250 pounds, he can clear the lane for Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Tristan Thompson because he is an excellent outside shooter.

Cavaliers star LeBron James LeBron James [Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]The other option for the Cleveland Cavaliers is Timofey Mozgov. The 7’1″, 275-pound center was one of the bright spots of the NBA Finals series against the Golden State Warriors last season, but he has found himself in the doghouse this season. Giving him the starting nod at center and moving Tristan Thompson to power forward could do wonders for his confidence, which would make him an asset again in the NBA Playoffs.

Another option that Tyronn Lue has is to shift LeBron James from small forward to power forward. He’s versatile enough to handle the position, and Markieff Morris isn’t going to dominate James in the post or anything. Richard Jefferson can then start at small forward, giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a veteran that is a bit more reliable than Timofey Mozgov.

With or without Kevin Love, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance to beat the Washington Wizards, so resting him as the star forward is a smart move by Tyronn Lue.

[Featured Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]