Cleveland lost for the seventh time in its last eight games Friday, dropping a 107-89 decision to Milwaukee.
James, a top candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year, scored 20 points for Cleveland, which is ninth in the Eastern Conference, 2 1/2 games behind New York and Boston for the conference’s final two postseason spots.
The Cavs scored 35 points in the second half and a season-low nine in the fourth quarter.
“It was close for a little while, and they had a spurt in the third quarter,” said Carlos Boozer, who led the Cavs with 26 points and 11 rebounds. “We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Cavs coach Paul Silas knows his team desperately needs a victory to stay within striking distance with only seven games remaining.
”(Saturday’s) game, that’s the season,” Silas said. “If we win that game, we have a chance. If not, it will be tough.”
Golden State is coming off a 111-106 loss at Boston on Friday night, playing without Erick Dampier, the NBA’s fourth-leading rebounder, who was out with a sprained left ankle.
Dampier is out indefinitely with what the team is calling a “significant” left ankle sprain.
“We feel for Damp. He’s had such a great year. Right know it’s premature, but they think he’s done for the year,” Golden State coach Eric Musselman said.