Philadelphia (19-24) at Cleveland (14-28)

Fair Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Sat Jan 24, 2004
  • TV: WUAB
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Heralded rookie LeBron James will likely miss his third straight game with a sprained ankle when the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Philadelphia 76ers at Gund Arena.

James, the team’s leading scorer at 20.4 points per game, was at Friday’s practice, but did not take part in running drills. The Cavs are 1-1 without James, who injured the ankle Jan. 17 at Utah.

Scoring isn’t the only void the talented first-year player leaves, as James also averages 5.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists. When he will return remains a question.

“I’m not going to push it,” said James. “It’s a long season. I have a long career in front of me, and I’m not going to push this injury. When I’m ready, when I’m 100 percent to where I was before it happened, I’ll play.”

Philadelphia is experiencing injury problems of its own.

During Friday’s 98-93 defeat to Orlando, the Sixers lost both Derrick Coleman and Kenny Thomas to injuries. All-Star Allen Iverson also got banged up in the defeat, suffering a bruised left hand.

Iverson had X-rays after the game and is listed as day-to-day. He will be re-evaluated Saturday. Coleman will be out at least six weeks after breaking his right pinkie late in the first quarter, while Thomas sustained a corneal abrasion in his left eye.

The injury-plagued Sixers were just getting back to full strength. They dressed 12 players for only the eighth time this season and had their regular starting lineup for the third straight game. Only once this season have they had the same starters for four straight games.

“We finally get our team together and two starters go down. Just like that, we’re back to square one again,” Iverson said.

Coach Randy Ayers said the injuries were not an excuse.

“We need people to step up and make plays, but we also need to have people practice to work things out,” he said.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 22): 76ers - 3rd place (tied), 3 GB, Atlantic Division. Cavaliers - 6th place, 17 1/2 GB, Central Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: 76ers - F Glenn Robinson, F Kyle Korver, C Samuel Dalembert, G Eric Snow, G Iverson. Cavaliers - F Eric Williams, F Carlos Boozer, C Zydrunas Ilgauskas, G Kevin Ollie, G Kedrick Brown.

TEAM LEADERS: 76ers - Iverson, 26.9 ppg; Thomas, 9.5 rpg; Snow, 7.2 apg. Cavaliers - James, 20.4 ppg and 6.2 apg; Boozer, 10.7 rpg.

SEASON SERIES: Cavaliers, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 19; Cavaliers, 88-81. At Philadelphia, James made five 3-pointers and scored 36 points, helping Cleveland end its franchise-record 34-game road losing streak. It was the Cavs’ first road win since Jan. 12, 2003 at Seattle.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: 76ers - 9-13 on the road; Cavaliers - 10-9 at home.

INJURIES: 76ers - C Todd MacCulloch (foot); C Marc Jackson (finger); C Coleman (thumb); F Thomas (eye). Cavaliers - G James (ankle); G J.R. Bremer (ankle).

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Assists