Do Miami Heat fans hate LeBron James? That would be hard to tell, but they surely were not pleased when he sat out the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat on Saturday.
SB Nation reports that James was asked to rest during the Cavs-Heat game after his overtime performance in New Orleans during Friday’s game between the Cavaliers and the Pelicans. The website reports that his absence in the came left fans displeased.
According to CBS Sports, fans at the American Airlines Arena were not pleased by the fact that their former star was just there, ‘resting’. The website further reports that during the fourth quarter–with Josh McRoberts doing free throws–fans chanted “LeBron is tired!” as an effort to taunt him.
CBS Sports also contextualizes the fans’ anger because they were only informed during the last minute that James was sitting out.
While fans were vocal about their frustration that James was not able to perform, the Cavalier star himself was also expressive in having it known that he did not appreciate being mocked in the city where he delivered 2 wins. CBS Sports relays that James gesture in shaking his fingers at the audience means something more than just showing off his rings.
However, despite the fuss about the last minute sit out, Cleveland reports that the Cavaliers already knew for weeks that James was going to sit the game against the Miami Heat out. According to the website, the Cavs have been planning to sit James out for a while as an effort to keep him fresh for another postseason run.
As per Cleveland Cavaliers play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod puts it, sitting James out is long-term thinking for the Cavs to keep their best player out of a tough back to back.
However, Cleveland also analyzes that had the game against the Pelicans gone differently (no overtime), James would have been able to play against the Heat.
It remains to be seen whether the Cavs’ strategy will have a positive impact on LeBron James’ future performances.