Friday night was not a good one for the Cleveland Cavaliers. First, they got crushed by a Hawks team that was missing Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard and Dennis Schroder, losing 1114-100 as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mike Dunleavy combined for 42 points. Even though they haven’t locked up the No. 1 seed in the East yet, the loss itself really isn’t that big of a deal. 

What’s more concerning, however, is the state of Kyrie Irving’s knee. About three weeks ago, Irving left the Cavs’ game against the Jazz with a sore knee, but only missed one game, sitting out the much-publicized Cavs-Clippers game that sparked the resting debate. 

It turns out, however, that Irving is still dealing with some pain in that knee. He went to the locker room during Friday’s game to have his knee examined, but wasn’t gone long, and soon reentered the game. Irving finished 8-13 from the floor with 18 points and 7 assists, but afterward admitted his knee was bothering him. 

Earlier this week, Tyronn Lue said he would give his stars rest, but not until they clinched the top seed in the East, which they haven’t done just yet. Via

“If we can take care of business like we’re supposed to, I think that we’d like LeBron and Kyrie to get some rest,” Lue said. “I think J.R. (Smith) and (Kyle) Korver and Kevin (Love) and those guys should play a little bit because they’ve been out for so long and just try to keep J.R.’s rhythm and establish Kevin’s rhythm and the same thing with Kyle.

Even though the Cavs haven’t secured the top spot, it certainly seems like it would be wise to give Irving a few days off at this point. Both Cleveland and Boston have three games remaining, and with the Cavs holding a one-game lead, and the tiebreaker, the Cavs are still the prohibitive favorites for that No. 1 seed. 

But with the way Irving is talking about his knee, getting him healthy seems like a bigger priority. The playoffs start in eight days, and Lue is going to need his point guard as close to 100 percent as possible. Perhaps not in the first round, but certainly down the road. Giving him a few days off during this final week of the regular season could pay big dividends later in the postseason, and the Cavs will likely get the No. 1 seed even without him in the lineup over the final few games.