Antawn Jamison(notes) bounced back from an ugly debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers with a much better performance in his last game. However, he is still looking for his first win with his new teammates.
Jamison will be in the Cavaliers’ starting lineup for the first time as they look to avoid their first four-game losing streak in more than two years Tuesday night when they host the New Orleans Hornets.
Cleveland (43-14) acquired Jamison last week from Washington to give itself another scoring threat alongside LeBron James(notes). Jamison, who averaged 20.5 points with the Wizards, was on the bench after failing to be cleared in time for an overtime loss to Denver on Thursday and then went 0 for 12 from the field in a 110-93 defeat to Charlotte on Friday.
He was much more effective Sunday in a 101-95 loss at Orlando, scoring 19 points on 9 of 14 shooting with eight rebounds.
“I think Antawn is really going to benefit us, we are just going through a little transition period right now trying to figure out lineups and figuring out certain sets,” said James, who had 33 points Sunday.
Coach Mike Brown was leaning toward giving Jamison his first start Tuesday, and his decision was made easier Tuesday when regular starting forward J.J. Hickson(notes) came down with flu-like symptoms. It’s unclear if Hickson will be able to play.
“If I can play the bulk of those guys together at the start and end of games,” Brown said, “then it makes sense to make the change.”
The three straight losses follow a 13-game winning streak for the Cavaliers, who haven’t dropped four in a row since a six-game skid Nov. 28-Dec. 8, 2007.
While the losing streak coincides with Jamison’s addition, he hasn’t been the only one struggling. The Cavaliers have averaged 94.0 points and shot 42.7 percent the last two games, down from their season averages of 101.6 points on 48.5 from the field.
“Anytime you make a trade, it’s going to take you a little bit to get used to it and get a rhythm,” Brown said. “Particularly if the head coach is searching, the players are going to feed off that. I’m in search mode a little bit.”
Williams had another disappointing game Sunday as he tries to regain the scoring touch he had before missing 11 games with a shoulder injury. Williams had four points in 33 minutes, shooting 1 of 9. He’s totaled 24 points in his first three games back after averaging 16.9 before the injury.
Although Cleveland is slumping, it still has the best record in the Eastern Conference and a five-game lead over second-place Orlando.
“We know Cleveland is struggling right now,” David West(notes) said following New Orleans’ 102-94 win over Houston on Sunday. “They’re going to be fired up at home. We just got to continue to play good solid basketball and trust one another at the end.”
The Hornets (30-26) are trying to win their third straight. West scored 27 points on Sunday, hitting two clutch free throws late, and rookie Darren Collison(notes) continued his scoring surge with 26 points.
“I’m just trying to attack as much as I can,” Collison said. “Whatever it takes to win games. If I have to use my speed to get inside the paint - my teammates are all over me talking about trying to use my speed.”
Collison and the Hornets are trying to move back into the playoff picture. They are currently ninth in the West - 1 1/2 games behind eight-place Portland.
The Cavaliers have won seven of their last eight at home against the Hornets, who have reached 90 points in only one of the last four contests there.