James is averaging a league-high 35.5 points per game this month, and he’s scored 40 or more in two of his last four contests.
James had 52 points in a loss at Milwaukee on Dec. 10 before scoring 39 in a defeat to Atlanta last Tuesday. He then had 26 points as Cleveland snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Denver on Thursday, and scored 41 in Saturday’s 115-107 victory over Miami.
Against the Heat, James had a run of 13 consecutive points in the fourth quarter.
“Once I start feeling like that, I feel unstoppable,” he said.
James added 10 assists and five rebounds, impressing Miami coach Pat Riley.
“A guy like that gets it going, what are you going to do?” Riley said. “I’ve seen too many players like him. At times, you’re helpless. He’s like a freight train with Dwyane Wade’s speed.”
Donyell Marshall added 25 points and 13 rebounds against Miami, both season highs, as the Cavs won consecutive games for the first time since an eight-game streak from Nov. 7-22.
The win, however, was costly for Cleveland as two starters suffered injuries. Drew Gooden reaggravated a sprained left ankle, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas sustained a mild concussion in the game’s final minute.
Ilgauskas didn’t practice on Monday and is questionable for this game, while Gooden said he hopes to play.
“I’m going to try to go,” Gooden said. “It was really tender, but I’ve got a couple days’ rest and hopefully I’ll be able to recover. I hate to miss games, it comes from Roy Williams (his college coach at Kansas) because he used to say you can never replace a game and I’ve become addicted to that.”
Kirilenko and Harpring, who didn’t play after receiving a cortisone shot in his knee following Friday’s loss at Indiana, are both expected to return against Cleveland.
Williams and Robert Whaley were fined by the Jazz Monday, and Whaley was suspended for one game after being cited for lying to police after a bar fight.
Neither player was charged in the fight early on Dec. 11, but police said both gave false names at the scene—apparently not wanting their identities to leak.
Utah has won three of its last four and is 1-1 on its season-high five-game trip. With a 6-5 record away from the Delta Center and a 5-8 mark at home, the Jazz join the Los Angeles Lakers as the NBA’s only clubs with winning road records and losing home records.
Cleveland swept last season’s series with Utah and has won four of the last five meetings between the teams.