For all the buzz about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ new big three, we’ve gotten to see precious little time with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the floor together during preseason play. Irving has sat out most of the preseason with an ankle injury and James and Love have taken various games off as planned rest days. The only time the Cavs’ expected starting five has taken the floor together since exhibition games kicked off was the opener against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
That’s about to change. Irving is healthy now, and Cavs head coach David Blatt says he’s going to approach Monday’s game at home against the Chicago Bulls like it’s a regular-season game. From Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
As the regular season looms closer, Cavaliers head coach David Blatt says he will ‘probably’ treat Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls like a regular season contest when it comes to minutes and rotation.
“We’re still in preparation of preseason but I think generally speaking as we go along here, it’s the time and our chance to play guys more minutes to see our combinations for longer periods of time,” Blatt said following Sunday’s practice session.
Like the Cavs, the Bulls have been ramping up minutes for their starters as preseason has gone along. Joakim Noah played in the fourth quarter for the first time on Thursday, and Derrick Rose is expected to play extended minutes tonight against the Hornets.
In other words, Monday’s game will feature something close to regular-season rotations for both teams, meaning there’s a good chance it will serve as a preview of the expected Eastern Conference Finals.