INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- LeBron James might have already switched into his so-called playoff mode, but that doesn't mean Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is going to lean on his star player like the Cavs are already in the postseason.
Lue told reporters he will rest James on Tuesday when Cleveland hosts the Houston Rockets, sitting James out amid a hot streak. He was named the Eastern Conference player of the week Monday, as he has averaged 29 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists in his past four games.
"Not too many chances and opportunities to rest one game and have four days off, so I thought it was a good opportunity to rest him," Lue said.
James last played Saturday in a 107-93 win over the New York Knicks and won't have to suit up again until Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets, on the first night of a back-to-back, with the Cavs' schedule continuing with a game in Atlanta on Friday. After the Brooklyn-Atlanta double dip, the Cavs have one more back-to-back this season with road games in Milwaukee and Indiana next week.
With nine games remaining in the regular season, Lue said he expects to sit out James more than just Tuesday. Lue previously stated he would like to have his team in a flow for its final six to seven games of the regular season before the playoffs. Lue has vowed to also work in rest for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova. However, he said he "hasn't thought about" the San Antonio Spurs' model of holding guys out of the lineup en masse on the same night.
The decision to sit James out could impact the Western Conference playoff picture. Houston came into Monday with a half-game lead over Dallas for the No. 8 seed. Cleveland is just 1-2 this season (4-12 over the past two seasons) when James doesn't play.
The Cavs' lone win this season without James was coincidentally against the Mavericks, the team nipping at the Rockets' heels.