Cavs star was game-time decision

Updated: February 1, 2005, 10:13 PM ET
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cleveland Cavaliers coach Paul Silas said LeBron James will play in Tuesday night's game against the Magic.

James was in the starting lineup as the Magic and Cavs tipped off. He took the game's first shot, an airball.

He finished with 25 points in the Cavaliers' 105-102 loss to the Magic, who were led by Steve Francis' 30 points and 13 assists.

Earlier in the day, James, who's missed the last two games with a sprained right ankle, was less certain about his status.

LeBron James

"Barring any unforeseen stuff that comes up, he'll play," Silas said before the Cavaliers' Tuesday morning shootaround. "He's slated to play."

But James was noncommittal after going through drills with his teammates. He said he would give his ankle one final test before the game, then decide whether to play. He was still a game-time decision 30 minutes before tip-off.

"It's getting close, very close to me going out and playing. But as of right now it's not 100 percent," James said. "It's a game-time situation. I'm going to see how I feel, and if I feel like I can help my team, I'm going to play."

James rolled his ankle Wednesday in a victory against the Memphis Grizzlies. He returned to play in the fourth quarter against Memphis, but sat out subsequent games against New York and Milwaukee.

Cleveland (26-17) has split its two games without James, losing to the Knicks and beating the Bucks.

"That made me feel great because they played so well," James said of his teammates. "But I'd rather be in there winning than them winning without me. But if they can do it without me, that shows the confidence I'm trying to help them get."

James ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring (25 points per game), second in steals (2.39 per game), fourth in assists (7.6 per game) while also averaging 7.4 rebounds a game.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press