Despite speculation to the contrary, the Boston Celtics will have to deal with LeBron James on Friday night.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star told reporters Friday morning that he would suit up for the Cavs’ home date with Celtics.
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Cleveland already has the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, and James said earlier in the week he’d likely take a few games off to rest as the Cavaliers prepare for the playoffs.
?I?ve always taken a couple games off before the postseason, over my career,? James told reporters Tuesday, via Cleveland.com. ?I don?t know when. That?s something me and the coaching staff and the training staff will sit down and go over, what will benefit me, benefit the team.
?I?ve always been the same way. I don?t change too much. I?ve always been the same. How I get at this time has always been the same over my 10 years of being in the postseason, so it won?t change.?
The Celtics, who lost to the Cavs 110-79 last month in Cleveland, still could avoid James for the second end of their weekend home-and-home. Boston hosts LeBron & Co. on Sunday in its third-to-last game of the regular season, and if James was planning on skipping one of the two meetings, sitting out the one on the road would make more sense.
“It’s their prerogative to do whatever they want to do,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters Friday morning at shootaround, via MassLive.com. “Those teams have earned the right to be as well-prepared for the playoffs as they want to be, or as they can be. And however they deem it best, it’s their prerogative.”
Entering Friday, the Celtics owned the No. 7 seed in the East by virtue of a tiebreaker with the eighth-seeded Brooklyn Nets. The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat both remained easily within striking distance, however, trailing Boston by one game and 1 1/2 games, respectively.
Thumbnail photo via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images