This time, it was the Cleveland Cavaliers, who sat LeBron James and several other regulars against the Los Angeles Clippers in what was the first of a pair of back-to-back games.
"I'm getting too old to be doing all that", Smith said.
Up Next - Now halfway through their four-game roadie, the Wine and Gold head for the Rockies next - traveling to Denver to take on Mike Malone's Nuggets on Wednesday night. But Lue felt he had justification beyond pure rest due to Love's recent return and Irving's new injury, and he didn't want James to play without his top two lieutenants.
When asked what he would have chosen between the likes of Arizona-Saint Mary's or Virginia-Florida in the round of 32 or Cavs-Clippers if he was just a basketball fan sitting at home in front of the TV on a weekend evening, Lue answered with zero hesitation.
Kyrie Irving scored 46 points, LeBron James added 34 and the Cavaliers had to rally from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to edge the Lakers, 125-120 on Sunday night. Jamal Crawford also had 13 points while Chris Paul was held to five points on 0-of-8 shooting.
For the second consecutive week, the NBA's nationally-televised Saturday showcase game became a bit of a farce after one of the teams involved elected to rest their star players. Just last week, the Warriors made a decision to rest Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Iguodala against the San Antonio Spurs. As in, why would anyone turn on their TV to watch a lesser product?
The Cavs have won four of the past five meetings with the Clippers both straight up and ATS, seeing a four-game series winning streak end with a 113-94 loss as 3.5-point home favorites on December 1. Social media reaction was blistering.
The league generated $5.8 billion in revenue last season.
Let's see how injured the player really is. Seven- and eight-figure deals were even being tossed around to role players. "He makes shots, but you just have to try and make it as tough as you can".
But, hey, on this mostly terrible, largely unentertaining night, the entire game - just like LeBron himself - was rendered pointless.
Fine, let's get rid of the back-to-backs leaguewide. He could have played Saturday, sure, but the team felt an extra day of rest would benefit his health more. Once the bench came back in the third, the game turned into a showcase for Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers, their exploits helping inflate the lead to 25+ and sending the game into extended garbage time.
James and Love are expected to play against the Lakers.
The Cavs play 17 this season. The Cavs didn't want him to shoulder the load solo without the rest of the big three.
Richard Jefferson scored 12 to lead the Cavs in their lowest-scoring game of the season.