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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love all sitting out for Cavaliers against Clippers

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It’s happened for the second Saturday in a row.

Saturday night’s NBA showcase game on ABC is going to have a lot less glamor — Cleveland is going to rest LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, coach Tyronn Lue said.

Last Saturday, Golden State’s Steve Kerr created a minor controversy when he sat Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala against the Spurs (who were without Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Tony Parker due to injury). Kerr did it because that was the eighth game in 13 days, with a couple of cross-country flights for the Warriors.

Love is coming off missing time for a back injury and is not playing in both ends of a back-to-back (so Lue is sitting him for the first game rather than the Laker game Sunday), and Irving had a mild sprained ankle in their last game.

While the Cavaliers are on the first game of a back-to-back starting a four-game road swing, that game is in the same building Sunday against the Lakers. Before this, the Cavaliers hadn’t played since Thursday and were not in an unusually dense part of the schedule. That said, LeBron has had little rest this season and a crazy workload, and Lue has said he wanted to get his key players rest heading into the playoffs.

But all three in a nationally televised game?

This is again going to lead to a talking point around the league and on sports talk radio, plus you can be sure someone with ABC/ESPN/Disney is calling up Adam Silver to remind them exactly how much they paid in broadcast rights for quality games.

This summer the NBA league office, the players union, and representatives from the teams need to sit down and have a discussion about resting players. The analytics undeniably show rested players not only perform better but are far less likely to be injured — teams with massive financial investments in player and looking at the big picture understandably think rest first. However, there is a tipping point where fans and league sponsors are going to push back.

And we seem close to that point.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.