The Cavaliers look to bounce back from their first loss in six games when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
This contest is the start of four games in five days for Cleveland (7-3), which visits Toronto on Wednesday, then plays Indiana and Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday.
The Cavaliers won five straight to vault to the top of the Eastern Conference, beating teams by an average of 11 points during that stretch.
While they still lead the conference, their winning streak came to a halt with a 111-99 loss to Washington on Saturday—the second of a back-to-back for the Cavs—as Cleveland allowed a season-high in points.
“It was a bad night and hopefully we can limit those nights to one-and-done and come back with a great effort on Tuesday,” Cleveland guard Damon Jones said.
James shot just 8-for-20 and finished with 20 points. He had topped 30 in three of his previous four games.
“You are always surprised when you get beat like that,” James said. “You always have a game like this early in the season, but we know what type of caliber team we are and this is not going to affect us.”
It was the second game the Cavaliers played without Larry Hughes, who is out indefinitely because of a sprained right ankle. He is to be re-evaluated by doctors on Tuesday, but no timetable has been set for his return.
David Wesley has started in Hughes’ spot the last two contests and played nearly 25 minutes per game. He had five points and three assists against the Wizards.
Cleveland—which has won five straight at home—has won three of the last four games against Memphis after going winless against the Grizzlies in four meetings during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
James has three 30-point games in six career matchups with the Grizzlies.
Memphis (2-8) comes to Cleveland looking to win consecutive games for the first time all season. The Grizzlies beat Orlando 95-86 on Monday, snapping a seven-game losing streak that was their longest in nearly three years.
Hakim Warrick scored 15 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter as Memphis went on a 21-2 run to erase a seven-point deficit.
“It’s just exciting, man, to finally get a win,” Warrick said. “Just take them one at a time. That’s what we need to do. We got that monkey off our back.”
Warrick matched his career-high in points—set two games ago in a 115-103 loss to Dallas—and also had 10 rebounds for his first double-double since the season opener.
The Grizzlies have yet to win on the road this year, losing all five games away from Memphis.
The last time the Grizzlies went this long without a road victory was 2002-03, when they lost 10 straight away from home to open the season and finished 8-33 on the road.