In bulldozing their respective conferences through the first three rounds of the postseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors each earned an extended rest before their highly anticipated showdown in the NBA Finals begins on Thursday.
Both teams appear to be playing their best basketball at the most important time. One of the reasons cited is the strategic rest days given to star players sporadically through the long regular season.
Known in the league as "DNP-Rest," the practice of sitting healthy players to avoid injury and fatigue has grown in popularity as teams focus more on reducing the wear and tear on the stars that drive the league. And while forward-thinking teams have been praised for putting the player first, there is concern across the league that the approach threatens to alienate fans who pay to see their favorite players, aggravate network executives who paid billions to showcase games, and devalue the regular season.