LeBron James to rest when Heat face Wizards on Monday
Heat forward LeBron James will be given the night off for rest when Miami visits Washington on Monday.
The four-time MVP has played in all but three of Miami's games this season. He will be joined on the sidelines by fellow All-Star Chris Bosh.
"He's dealing with some minor ailments," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters, in comments recorded by the Sun-Sentinel. "Nothing that's significant enough to keep him out. Same thing with Chris. We made this decision, and everyone else is ready to go."
Spoelstra told reporters he would reevaluate all of his players in advance of the Heat's season finale against the Sixers.
James has averaged a team-leading 37.7 minutes per game overall this season, while playing 38.2 minutes per game since the All-Star break. He sat out a Dec. 28 victory over the Blazers due to a groin injury, a Feb. 23 victory over the Bulls after he suffered a broken nose, and a March 19 loss to the Celtics with back spasms.
“[Resting is] something I need to talk about with [Spoelstra],” James said after a Saturday loss to the Hawks, according to the Miami Herald. “Some of my teammates, obviously they looked at it and said, ‘You need to get a couple games,’ so I’ll be smart about it and try to get into the playoffs as healthy as I can be.”
Miami currently occupies the East's No. 2 seed, sitting a half-game behind Indiana with two games to go. The Pacers hold the tiebreaker over the Heat, though, due to their better record within the Eastern Conference. Because of the tiebreaker, Miami can only capture the East's top seed by beating Washington on Monday and Philadelphia on Wednesday, while also needing Indiana to lose to Orlando on Wednesday. One Miami loss or an Indiana win will clinch the conference for the Pacers.
The 29-year-old James has averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting a career-high 56.7 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from deep this season. He is widely regarded as one of the top two candidates for the 2014 MVP award, along with Thunder forward Kevin Durant. The 2013-14 season ends on Wednesday and the 2014 playoffs begin this weekend. Miami is seeking its fourth consecutive trip to the Finals and its third straight title.