LeBron James’ availability for Thursday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder is slated to be a game-time as he recovers from “general soreness” in his left knee.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old James is playing an average of 38 minutes per for the Cavs, second in the league behind the Bulls Jimmy Butler. James possible absence couldn’t come at a much more inopportune time for Cleveland, winners of eight in a row and seemingly building steam.
James has averaged 24.8 points, 7.7 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game for the 13-7 Cavs.
“It’s another opportunity for somebody to step up,” Kevin Love said of the prospect of the Cavs being without the four-time league MVP. “We know what we lose in LeBron, and this will be a great opportunity to see ourselves against one of the best Western Conference teams, despite their record. But it’s just another opportunity, as I mentioned, for other guys to step up if he’s out. If not, we’ll go at full strength.”
Added Kyrie Irving “it would be big piece missing if he doesn’t play, but hopefully he does. Right now, he’s in our lineup, and we can go get it tonight. It will be a good matchup for all of us. But if he can’t, then we’ll have to adjust and we’ll have to take it upon ourselves — our bench has to play big, including myself we all have to play bigger — just to fill that void if he can’t play.”
After a 5-7 start and unnerving questions about their chemistry, the Cavs outscored opponents by an average of 13 points over the life of their streak.
After the Thunder, the Cavs play 11 games over the rest of the month, including a nationally-televised Christmas Day match against Miami that will mark James’ first return to South Beach where he once won back-to-back titles with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.[Photo Credit: Keith Allison]