LeBron James was upset he was benched for Saturday's game against the Clippers, and so was the NBA.
James, along with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, who were both on the mend from knee injuries, sat out for the Cavaliers. As a result, the Clippers dominated the defending champions' supporting cast in a 108-78 win at Staples Center.
"He was mad, but I just thought for him it was the right decision," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told reporters about James. "Not to go out there and try to carry the whole load by himself and playing more minutes."
Just minutes after the decision was announced, Cavaliers GM David Griffin said he got a call from the NBA league office.
"Seven minutes after it was announced. Yeah, they were not happy," Griffin said after the game, via ESPN.com. "I feel bad for the league. I really do. But it is what it is for us from an injury standpoint. We literally had one guy rest tonight and everybody else was reasonably injured. I don’t feel like we did anything terribly egregious."
With Channing Frye, Deron Williams, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Tristan Thompson starting, the result was not surprising for the Cavs. It was, however, what LA needed in order to keep pace with the Thunder for playoff positioning.
ABC and the league, on the other hand, likely saw ratings drop a week after the Warriors and Spurs sat their stars during another Saturday night primetime matchup. Basketball fans not tuned into March Madness got to witness the Cavaliers have season-lows in points, 3-pointers made (five) and 3-point percent (18.5). Not to mention, Clippers stars Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan sat out the entire fourth quarter.
Studs of the night
Russell Westbrook had 28 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to help the Thunder crush the Kings 110-94 for their fifth straight win. The streak is the longest current run in the NBA and have Oklahoma City just a half-game behind the Clippers for the fifth seed in the West.
Fellow MVP candidate James Harden had yet another 40-point triple-double, this time against the Nuggets in a four-point win. Harden scored 40 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. It's Harden's fourth straight game with triple-double.
Dud of the night
Dennis Schroder had another dismal game Saturday. The Hawks point guard scored just eight points on 2-of-14 shooting in Atlanta's home loss to the Blazers. Schroder is a combined 6 of 30 from the floor his past two games.
Rockets veteran Nene may need to sit out a game here and there as he ages but the big man can still throw it down, as evidenced by this dunk over Mason Plumlee.
Celtics (44-25) at 76ers (25-43), 1 p.m. ET — Without All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas (knee), Boston will look to come within one game of the Cavaliers for the top seed in the East. The Celtics were able to win against the Nets without Thomas on Friday but a pesky 76ers team could give Al Horford and company trouble.