The Miami Heat leaned on LeBron James in their most recent victory, and they may have to do so again with Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers nursing injuries.
Wade and Chalmers may not play when Miami closes out its six-game road trip Saturday night against a Phoenix Suns team it dominated two weeks ago.
With Wade out with a sprained left foot and Chalmers leaving in the first quarter with a strained right triceps, James had 27 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds to help the Heat (7-3) beat Denver 98-93 on Thursday.
James hit 11 of 23 shots and recorded his eighth double-double of the season.
"I just tried to go to another level," James said. "I just tried to find a little bit of energy to help our team win the ballgame and fortunately I was able to do that.''
How much of the burden he'll have to shoulder Saturday remains to be seen. Though neither Wade's nor Chalmers' injuries seem serious, they may keep each from playing for at least one more game.
James seems to be feeling a bit under the weather, too. He had an ice pack on his shoulder following Thursday's win and took to Twitter early Saturday morning mentioning he's not feeling well.
"Hate feeling like this. The bug is going around," James tweeted, also writing he had a headache and stomach ache.
Wade was injured in Wednesday's loss to the Clippers, but coach Erik Spoelstra doesn't think he'll be out too long. Chalmers said he hopes to be ready for Saturday.
''It's not anything major," Spoelstra said of Wade. "He has a bunch of little, minor, nagging injuries, so we'll continue to take it day by day.''
Mike Miller started in place of Wade on Thursday and Norris Cole likely will start if Chalmers can't go despite hitting only 3 of 12 shots and scoring seven points in nearly 39 minutes against Denver.
James, averaging 28.7 points in his career versus the Suns, scored 23 and grabbed 11 boards in a 124-99 win over Phoenix on Nov. 5, marking Miami's fifth straight victory in the series.
The struggling Suns (4-6), who have trailed by double digits in nine of their 10 games, hope to end that streak after losing 114-102 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, falling for the third time in four contests.
"We had a lot of unforced turnovers,'' said Jermaine O'Neal, who scored a season-high 12 points. "That was the difference-maker.''
Goran Dragic scored a team-best 22 points while Luis Scola added 18 for Phoenix, which has allowed at least 100 points in seven of the last eight games.
Its opponents are shooting 47.3 percent, which ranks 28th in the NBA.
"We've got to get ourselves to the point where we become significant again," coach Alvin Gentry said. "And the only way to do that is to be consistent.''
The Suns are 3-2 at US Airways Center this season, but they have lost four straight home matchups with the Heat. Phoenix hasn't beaten Miami on its own court since a 108-80 rout on Jan. 5, 2007, in a game Wade also didn't play due to injury.