The Cavaliers will be without James again as they try to reach 50 wins Monday night against a San Antonio Spurs team that won’t have Parker for about six weeks.
James will sit out a second consecutive game after rolling his right ankle in a 99-92 win over Detroit on Friday night. Looking to take advantage of a break in the schedule, with his team not playing again until Friday after facing San Antonio, coach Mike Brown wants to be extra cautious with his superstar.
James is also suffering from some soreness in his back.
“This is an opportune time for him to get some rest,” Brown said. “My gut feeling is that this is the right time for this to happen. He wants to play. He doesn’t like sitting.”
Brown said James would be on the floor if Cleveland was in the playoffs. However, the coach kept him on the bench Saturday as the Cavaliers (49-15) had a six-game winning streak snapped in a 92-85 loss at Milwaukee.
James, averaging a league-best 30.0 points, was replaced by Jawad Williams(notes). Antawn Jamison(notes) had 30 points and Delonte West(notes) added a season-high 27, but Cleveland couldn’t overcome James’ absence while also missing Shaquille O’Neal(notes) (thumb).
After playing six of nine on the road, the Cavs return home to try to become the league’s first team to win 50 games. They’ve won 25 of their last 27 at Quicken Loans Arena.
San Antonio (36-24) has won four straight, but it might have a tough time continuing its momentum without Parker. The veteran point guard broke a bone in his right hand at the end of the first half of a 102-92 win over Memphis on Saturday night.
Parker, who earned NBA finals MVP honors when San Antonio swept Cleveland in 2007, is the Spurs’ second-leading scorer at 16.5 points per game.
“We’re playing well,” San Antonio forward Tim Duncan(notes) said. “That is the one positive about the whole thing. We’re going to have to get these guys to step up and step in and continue to play well.
“It hurts losing Tony, obviously. Hopefully, we’ll find a way to get it done.”
Manu Ginobili(notes) is coming off a 17-point performance and is averaging 18.3 in his last eight games, but he was held to four points on 2-of-9 shooting in San Antonio’s 101-81 loss to Cleveland on April 5, the teams’ last meeting. The Cavs won their other matchup with the Spurs last season 97-86 on Feb. 27, 2009.