James among Cavs stars to get rest
CLEVELAND -- The Cavaliers have chosen reward over risk.
All-Stars LeBron James and Mo Williams and veterans Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Joe Smith will not play Wednesday night against Philadelphia to rest for the playoffs, despite Cleveland attempting to match the 1985-86 Boston Celtics' NBA record of 40 home wins in one season.
Cavs coach Mike Brown said the decision was easy because his team has much bigger goals and he doesn't want to jeopardize its chances of winning an NBA title by getting a player hurt in a meaningless game.
With a win, the Cavaliers will match the '85-86 Celtics' home record of 40-1.
"We are where we are no matter what," Brown said following the Cavs' morning shootaround. "Obviously, we can tie the record. That's the only thing we gain out of playing our guys. Other than that, we could have an injury, and for me that would be the most devastating thing you could possibly think of this late in the game."
The Cavaliers have already secured home-court advantage throughout the postseason, making the home finale nothing more than a chance to get the reserves some extra court time.
"Tying the home record would be nice, just like all the other records we have," Brown said. "But going after it is definitely not a goal of ours. Having said that, we still expect to try to get a win with whoever is in uniform."
Cavaliers forward Ben Wallace, who recently returned from a broken right leg, will also sit out as he recovers from a strained knee tendon. Brown said Wallace is "progressing" but gave no further timetable on when his best interior defender might be game ready.
The Cavs, who will meet the Detroit Pistons in the first round, have set numerous franchise records in their greatest regular season to date. But Brown knows none of them will mean much without capping it with an NBA championship.
"There's only one reward that might have me dancing in the streets," he said.
Philadelphia has a lot riding on the regular-season finale. A win over Cleveland and a loss by Chicago against Toronto would give the Sixers the No. 6 seed in the playoffs.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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