LeBron James out vs. Mavericks Due to Rest: Details and Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2016

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) dunks the ball against the Utah Jazz during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 14, 2016, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James will sit out Wednesday night's clash with the Dallas Mavericks as the team gives him a scheduled rest day, according to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin

Since the Cavaliers are starting a stretch that includes three games in four nights, James will rest before the team gets ready for a back-to-back swing in Florida that includes a matchup against the Orlando Magic on Friday and another with the Miami Heat on Saturday. 

According to McMenamin, head coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that James will play both segments of the upcoming back-to-back and added that Iman Shumpert will start in his place Wednesday evening.

"I just thought giving him the three days now would be good instead of just resting him one game or one day on the back-to-back," Lue said, according to the Associated Press' Tom Withers

While James has been on a tear over the past two weeks and change, Lue's decision to give James a breather is prudent given the load he's shouldered of late. 

Since returning from a trip to Miami that involved workouts with close friend and former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade at the start of March, James has averaged 24.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, six assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from three. 

LeBron has also assisted on a team-best 30.4 percent of his team's field goals during the month of March—a mark that's four percent higher than the one Kyrie Irving has posted (26.4) over the same span. 

LeBron James' Production by Month (2015-16 Season)
Source: Basketball-Reference.com

While that production is seemingly impossible to replace, the Cavaliers should be able to ride Irving, Kevin Love, Channing Frye and J.R. Smith to a win over a sliding Mavericks team. Dallas has lost five of its last six games and six of its last 10 overall, and it currently sits two games below .500 (15-17) on the road this season. 

However, it's worth noting the Cavs are 0-2 without LeBron in the lineup this season and have lost both games by at least 14 points. 

"We definitely have to speak about that tonight, just being professional, as always, and we got to start playing better when LeBron doesn't play," Lue said, per Withers. "So guys have to step up and be ready to play and take on this challenge."

The Cavaliers may own a meager two-game lead over the Toronto Raptors for the top spot in the Eastern Conference entering Wednesday night, but giving James a chance to rest now should allow them to operate at full strength and pick up some big wins this weekend. 

Stats courtesy of NBA.com unless noted otherwise. 


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