With the NBA regular season entering its final week, playoff teams with nothing to gain in the standings are starting to rest their regulars in anticipation of the postseason.
The Miami Heat, basically guaranteed to be the second seed out East, are one of those teams. Despite Lebron James saying he would not sit any of the final regular season games, it seems that the Heat will in fact rest some of their key players according to ESPN’s Miami Heat Index.
Anticipating the likelihood of being the No. 2 seed after Sunday’s developments in Indiana, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is expected to shift some primary rotation players into rest mode for Monday’s game and Wednesday’s season finale against Philadelphia.
“Some of my teammates, obviously, they look at me and say, ‘You may need to get a couple of games [off], man,” said Lebron James.
“It’s been a hell of a grind this year,” Chris Bosh said. “You just have to hang in there and do what you’re supposed to do. It’s been relentless and brutal. I don’t know, man [about taking games off]. Every time you think you know, something changes.”
It seems like the Indiana Pacers having the inside track for the top-seed out East could be a mini-blessing for the Heat. After the grind of a long season where the defending Champs have gotten everyone’s best shot, a few games off for the Miami stars before the playoffs could be exactly what James and Bosh need.
It will be interesting to see how the Heat players handle the grind of a fourth consecutive deep postseason run. If their regular season fatigue is any indicator, it will be a tough road for the Heat to three-peat.