Golden State (21-23) at Cleveland (25-19)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Tue Jan 30, 2007
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LeBron James keyed the Cleveland Cavaliers’ win over the Golden State Warriors 10 days ago, but the only game they’ve won since then came when he was out of the lineup.

The superstar forward won’t be available again on Tuesday when the Cavaliers host Al Harrington and the Warriors.

James has decided to sit out this matchup to rest his sprained right big toe, an injury that could force him to miss additional games this week. Cleveland (25-19) visits Miami on Thursday before opening a five-game homestand against Charlotte on Friday.

When Cleveland visited Golden State on Jan. 20, James scored five of his 32 points in overtime and made a steal in the final seconds that helped the Cavs pull out a 106-104 victory. Cleveland has since lost three of four games, and the only win was Friday’s 105-97 victory at Philadelphia as James missed a game for the first time all season.

He returned to action Sunday against Phoenix and scored 30 points, but was benched by coach Mike Brown for part of the fourth quarter when the toe appeared to bother him and the Cavs lost 115-100.

“I really have to get off of it,” said James, who appeared annoyed when Brown sat him. “If that means taking some games off, I’m going to have to do that because it’s definitely a problem.”

James, who leads the team with 27.2 points and 6.0 assists per game, hurt his toe on Jan. 19 during Cleveland’s season-high seven-game road trip and aggravated the injury in a 118-115 double-overtime loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday.

James said Monday he’ll consider sitting out Cleveland’s next few games despite the team’s recent struggles.

The Cavs are 3-7 in their last 10 contests, allowing 103.0 points per game, but have gone 7-2 in the nine games James has sat out with injuries since 2003.

“I don’t like sitting down,” he said. “I don’t like not being able to give something to my teammates. Being out in street clothes, I hate that feeling. I feel like I’m leaving my teammates out on an island.

“Right now, it’s an injury where you go out there and keep re-injuring it. You’ve got to be smart and it’s something I’ve really got to think about. … Long term, it would be smart if I took some games off and some practices off, honestly, to get better.”

Sasha Pavlovic is likely to start in James’ place after doing so Friday, scoring six points. Brown, however, kept Pavlovic on the bench Sunday.

“We thought about it throughout the course of the ballgame,” Brown said. “There was just no minutes.”

Golden State (21-23), opening a six-game road trip, is looking to win three in a row for the first time since a season-high five-game winning streak from Nov. 9-18.

The Warriors, though, have lost four straight on the road and are 4-15 away from home this season. Golden State is tied with Seattle for the second-fewest road wins in the NBA behind Memphis (3-20).

The team hopes the recent acquisition of Harrington in a four-player trade from Indiana on Jan. 17 will help solve its road woes. Harrington is averaging 25.3 points in four games since the deal after averaging 15.9 in 36 contests with the Pacers.

He shot 9-for-11 from the field Saturday and scored 21 of his 28 points in the first half to lead the Warriors to a 131-105 rout of Charlotte.

“This is the best basketball I’ve played in my life so I’m having a blast,” Harrington said. “It’s always good for me to make my first couple of shots. That’s when my confidence really gets going and I start feeling like I can make any shot.

“We needed the win to get momentum and gain confidence going into the (six-game) road trip.”

Golden State has won two of its last three visits to Cleveland after dropping 12 straight there.

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Tuesday, Jan 30