And they weren’t alone around the NBA on Saturday, either.
The Boston Celtics left the biggest two stars on their roster – both of whom are coming off serious injuries, and now apparently dealing with far more minor ones – out of the lineup for their preseason finale at Cleveland.
The official reasons where lower back pain for Hayward and a rib contusion for Irving.
Hayward’s last game at Cleveland was opening night of the regular season a year ago, when he suffered a gruesome ankle and leg injury that ended his season. Irving was sidelined for the final month of the regular season and the entirety of Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals with a knee problem. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers kept Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, George Hill and Kyle Korver out of the matchup.
At the Indiana-Memphis game, the Pacers rested their entire projected starting five – Victor Oladipo, Darren Collison, Thad Young, Myles Turner, and Bojan Bogdanovic. And the Grizzlies sat some regulars as well, including Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, with neither move there coming as a surprise given that Memphis was playing a preseason back-to-back and both of those veterans played Friday against Atlanta.
And when the Lakers and Clippers met in the last of three preseason contests Saturday, LeBron James was sitting out to rest. The Lakers were also without Lonzo Ball again, though he may play before the preseason ends.
All those rest moves Saturday came one day after San Antonio lost rookie guard Lonnie Walker IV for several weeks with a torn meniscus. Walker got hurt in the Spurs’ preseason game Friday, and will have surgery on Monday.