While Dwyane Wade returned in a promising way in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, LeBron James may take the last week of the regular season off despite the Miami Heat regressing to second in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I’ll be smart about it and go into the postseason as healthy as I can be,” James said. “The last three years, I’ve kind of done that, and I felt pretty good going into the postseason. Even after this seven-, eight-month grind, there’s nothing like the two months of the postseason.
“It’s harder than the eight months of the regular season. So I’ve got to be smart about it.”
via Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald
LeBron, who’s played in all but three games this season, is playing nearly 38 minutes per game. And he is really playing those 38 minutes. With much of the team playing inconsistently for much of the season, LeBron has had to shoulder the brut of the offense and guard a variety of positions on defense.
He could use the rest.
In the past, when LeBron would take the final week of the season off, his teams had secured its playoff seeding. That’s not the case this season, as Miami remains embroiled in a contest for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
But fans seem to care about that more than the team. The primary concern for the Heat remains health going into the post-season. That’s why Wade’s successful return last night—24 points on 10-of-14 shooting in 23 minutes—made Saturday a triumph for the Heat. That’s why LeBron was in a good mood after the game.
That’s why LeBron, who could help his team lock up home-court advantage in the playoffs, could opt to take the rest of the season off.
The Heat travel to the Washington Wizards on Monday and wrap up the season Wednesday when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.