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LeBron won't play the Bulls, but why?
by Sam Smith
Posted on Apr 8
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So which conspiracy theory was yours for Thursday with LeBron James sitting out the national cable TNT game with the Bulls.
The Cavs would rather play the Bulls in the playoffs because they believe the Bulls are an even easier out in the playoffs than the Raptors without the injured Chris Bosh.
The Cavs want the Bulls as a historic payback of the first round beatings and embarrassments Michael Jordan’s Bulls put on the Cavs of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and LeBron wants to get back at Jordan’s franchise.
The NBA and the networks were in agreement because a Bulls-Cavs first round playoff series would have more storylines and higher TV ratings than a Cavs-Raptors series, especially without Bosh.
The Cavs think so little of the Bulls they can rest LeBron and don’t seriously worry about losing, anyway, especially after watching the Bulls submit so timidly to the Bucks Tuesday without Andrew Bogut.
James is frightened of the Bulls knowing they are on a playoff run and could embarrass him and the Cavs.
“It’s a fine balance,” said Cavs coach Mike Brown about sitting out James. “There’s no right answer to it. You can do it a lot of different ways. If we go out and win what I did was smart. If we go out and lose what I did was not. I’m OK with that.
“Going down the stretch you have to be smart with your team,” Brown continued. “You have to do what you feel is best for your organization and the players. Our fans have been right there with us. I know they would want what’s best for the team.”
The Cavs, by the way, are 10-12 in games James hasn’t played in his career and 1-1 this season. The Cavs have clinched home court no matter whom they meet even if they make it the Finals and Brown had talked about the remaining games as high level practices, though he admitted he used a poor choice of words.
“What I was saying is if I play LeBron the rest of the games we’re going to have a better chance of winning,” said Brown. “I’m not a super coach. He’s a super player. I’m not going to play him 40 minutes these last games to better our chances of winning even if it means we’re going to lesser our chances of winning.”
Brown said subconsciously players could not play at full speed and risk injury if they know they are on limited time, which is another reason James was left on the inactive list for Thursday’s game. Also, Brown admitted it was in his mind seeing the recent major injuries to Andrew Bogut and Bosh, their teams’ best players.
And though he wasn’t around Chicago or Cleveland then, Brown says he hears regularly from Cavs fans about Jordan’s shot in the 1989 playoffs. We’ll see if James gets a chance to exact some revenge.