The last time the Heat and the Spurs played in Miami, it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals last June, in a contest that meant the world to each respective franchise.
When they met again for the first time since then in a preseason contest in Miami on Saturday, the game meant absolutely nothing. Which might explain why, after playing in each of his team’s first five exhibition games, LeBron James decided to sit this one out.
James said the decision to sit was part of the team’s “maintenance” process. Heat teammate Dwyane Wade played Saturday, but has skipped three preseason games.
“No, no injuries — just not suiting up,” James said. “It’s OK for LeBron to take one off.”
James also plans to miss the Heat’s final preseason game Friday at home against the Nets.
If LeBron says it’s OK for LeBron to take the night off, then who are we to argue?
In all seriousness, there’s nothing to be gained by James suiting up for every single preseason matchup. The team returned its core players from a season ago, so there aren’t any new faces the reigning MVP needs to get accustomed to playing with — unless you’re counting a reserve like Michael Beasley, which would be silly.
James will be in the lineup one more time in the preseason against the Pelicans this Wednesday, before shutting it down to prepare for opening night against the Chicago Bulls on October 29.