Orlando (12-33) at Cleveland (15-28)

Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 50° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Mon Jan 26, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

LeBron James hopes to return following a three-game absence as the Cleveland Cavaliers meet the Orlando Magic at Gund Arena.

James has been sidelined since spraining his right ankle during a 102-96 win over Utah on Jan. 17. While he has been limited to shooting drills during the past week, he was finally able to make it through a full practice Sunday.

Afterward, he said he hopes to play against the Magic.

“It was a little stiff at first,” James said. “We’ll play it by ear. If it feels great, I’ll play. If not, I’ll extend my four-game sitting streak.”

The Cavs updated James from doubtful to probable on their injury report.

“It’s up to him if he feels he can go,” Cleveland coach Paul Silas said. “I’d like to see him try, but I’m not going to rush it, naturally.”

Silas, however, noted that James still seems to be favoring the ankle.

“It’s normal,” Silas said. “Eventually, you’ve got to get out there and let your adrenaline take over and get into the game and you won’t even think about it.”

The Cavs have gone 2-1 without their leading scorer. Eric Williams scored 20 points Saturday, and Dajuan Wagner added 17, lifting the Cavs past Philadelphia 95-87.

“We’re gaining a lot of confidence,” Cleveland guard Kevin Ollie said. “Earlier this season, we had some tough defeats. But tonight we made some big shots and made some big plays when we had to.”

The win was Cleveland’s 15th of the season. Last season, when the Cavs went 17-65, they didn’t earn their 15th victory until April 5.

“Once we get ‘Bron back, I can now see a bright future,” Silas said. “All’s well right now.”

The Magic have dropped two of their last three, including a 99-87 loss to Houston on Sunday.

Tracy McGrady scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Magic in the game, but Orlando had no answer inside for Houston center Yao Ming, who scored a career-high 37 points.

“Yeah, I had the hot streak,” McGrady said. “But it didn’t matter because they were coming down and Yao was doing the same thing.”

Orlando guard Keith Bogans sat out the second half after bruising his right leg in a second-quarter collision with Yao.

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