Cavs' LeBron James on days off before East finals: 'I feel worse when I don’t play'
The superstar is itching to get back on the court
BOSTON -- Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James dismissed the notion that his well-rested team has a leg up on the Boston Celtics heading into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday. The Cavaliers haven't played since sweeping the Toronto Raptors 10 days ago, but James didn't exactly sound thrilled about that fact.
"No advantage at all," James said. "Not for me. You get days off, but for me, I'd rather be playing."
James said Cleveland's biggest challenge to start the series would be "getting back into the flow of basketball." He didn't think it would be difficult because of the playoff atmosphere and the quality of the Cavaliers' opponent, but he was clear that rust is a concern in this situation. The Cavs will need to find their rhythm quickly.
"It's always something that you gotta kind of pay attention to," James said. "I said that before we opened up that Toronto series because we had those days off before we opened up the second round. So you can practice, you can work on your game, you can train a lot, but it's never no simulation for a game. So we'll have to see what happens."
Despite all of this, Cleveland has appeared to value the time off. This is an older team that plays its stars heavy minutes. Coach Tyronn Lue said that it's "always an advantage to get rest, to get a chance to work on other things you need to get better at offensively and defensively." That mentality has trickled down to the players, even if James doesn't see things the same way.
"I know sweeps are hard to get," Cavs sharpshooter Kyle Korver told NBA.com's Steve Aschburner two weeks ago, "but these guys have been doing that, and it's like they want to sweep so they get that week [off between rounds]. Having that thought in their heads -- 'If we sweep this team, we're going to have that time off' -- not many teams go into a playoff series thinking that. You're just trying to win the series. But they were like, 'Trust us.'"
Lately, this seems to have worked. After sweeps last season, Cleveland jumped out to huge leads in Game 1 of the second round against the Atlanta Hawks and the conference finals against the Toronto Raptors. The same thing happened in the opening game against the Raptors during this year's playoffs. Just don't tell James that the rest was the reason why this happened.
"I feel worse," James said. "I feel worse when I don't play."
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