After the Cavaliers lost by double digits to the Heat in Miami on Monday, Cleveland head coach David Blatt said he’s eying a second place finish in the regular season standings.
It’s not as important to LeBron James.
Following a contest where both Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers had huge games against their former teammate — and secured the second victory over LeBron’s Cavs in Miami this season — James and his head coach seemed to have different priorities as the regular season comes to its finish.
“We got to finish in second place,” Blatt said Monday after the Cavs’ 106-92 loss to the Miami Heat. …
“The coaching staff, if that’s what they want, but for me, I never play for seeding. I just play,” [LeBron] said. “And wherever at the end of the season we land, I’m ready. Just get me in the playoffs. Get me in the playoffs, I feel like I can win on anybody’s floor. I feel like I can win at home. I’m that confident in my ability and our team’s ability. So I’ve never in my 12-year career played for seeding. That’s just not how I work.” …
James has different goals for the Cavs in the last month of the regular season.
“Health,” James said. “Health and chemistry. We got to continue to build our chemistry. We’re a young group, as far as cohesiveness on the floor. So we got to continue to build that, and we got to be healthy during the playoffs.”
Obviously, it’s a balance.
The way the standings look today, it would seem as though Cleveland would have a pretty good shot at that second place finish. They’re two games up on the reeling Raptors, two-and-a-half games up on the banged-up Bulls, and three games ahead of a Wizards team that’s also been struggling.
This rivalry game against the Heat aside (and one where Kevin Love sat out to rest), the Cavaliers have been rolling teams; they’re 24-6 since Jan. 15.
The second place finish will likely come, but LeBron has it right — because it won’t mean anything if Cleveland isn’t playing well at the time, or isn’t as healthy as possible once the postseason begins.