MINNESOTA - Provided he can play through a knee injury Tuesday, LeBron James will try to help the Cleveland Cavaliers close in on the best record in the Eastern Conference when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves.
James, Cleveland's leader with 27.4 points per game, will be a gametime decision for the finale of a five-game road trip after sitting out Sunday's 98-96 loss at Boston with tendinitis in his right knee. The Cavs (44-30) claimed the superstar small forward was just being rested, and received treatment on Monday
"We miss LeBron. We miss LeBron every time he doesn't play. He's our guy," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "He's just got a lot of bumps and bruises."
The Cavaliers, who are 3-1 without James in the lineup this season, have already secured their second consecutive playoff berth. They trail Detroit by 3 1/2 games with eight to play -- the Pistons have nine games remaining -- for the best record in both the Central Division and Eastern Conference.
"LeBron is the most important player on our team, so it's hard to play without him," Cleveland's Anderson Varejao said after Sunday's defeat -- the team's second of the trip. "But I don't think that was the problem."
Sasha Pavlovic picked up some of the slack for James on Sunday, with 17 points and seven rebounds. The swingman, who is averaging 8.4 points per game on the season, has scored in double figures in all four games of the road trip.
James had 37 points in Cleveland's only other meeting with the Timberwolves this season, a 92-76 home win for the Cavs on Nov. 17.
Meanwhile, Minnesota (31-42) needs to close a five-game gap with the Los Angeles Clippers in the regular season's final nine games in order to earn a Western Conference playoff spot.
The Timberwolves stopped a three-game losing streak Sunday with a 105-104 overtime victory at Orlando, as Ricky Davis scored a season-high 36 points -- including Minnesota's last 13. Kevin Garnett, who had 22 points and eight boards, sealed the victory by blocking Jameer Nelson's driving layup with less than five seconds to go.
"It was a great night," Davis said. "(Minnesota coach Randy Wittman) kept calling my number, kept giving me the ball in scoring positions."
Davis will try to build on the performance after only getting four points on 2-of-10 shooting in the last matchup with Cleveland. Garnett was also limited in that matchup, recording a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but shooting just 5-for-17 from the field for 14 points.