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Hornets-Cavaliers Preview

Feb 24, 2016 - 3:28 AM LeBron James has played more games than any player in the league since the Cleveland Cavaliers made him the No. 1 overall pick out of high school in 2003.

He prides himself on his durability and habits to quickly heal his aching body, but it's becoming apparent he'll need some rest before the Cavs attempt another deep playoff run.

James certainly doesn't have plans to take himself out of the lineup, though, despite Cleveland playing its third game in four days Wednesday night against a Charlotte Hornets team trying to win five straight on the road for the first time in more than 14 years.

James played his 1,143rd career game on Monday, a total that includes six trips to the NBA Finals and two championships with Miami. After 14 consecutive 20-point games, James tied his season low with 12, shot 5 of 18 from the field, missed all four of his 3-point attempts and committed six turnovers as Cleveland (40-15) fell 96-88 to Detroit at home.

Coach Tyronn Lue admitted he considered resting James for the second of a back-to-back set after the Cavs beat Oklahoma City on Sunday, then decided against it.

"One night he doesn't have the legs and that's fine," said Kyrie Irving, who scored 30 points after playing only nine minutes against the Thunder following an overnight battle against hotel bed bugs. "We just have to pick it up from everybody on the team."

Kevin Love scored 24 points, but the performances from him and Irving weren't enough to overcome come James' struggles. Cleveland has a three-game lead on Toronto atop the Eastern Conference, and Lue seems to have plans to rest multiple players, including James, if it gets closer to locking up home-court advantage in the playoffs.

"There's nothing to talk about," James said. "I mean, obviously, if coach Lue wanted to sit me I'll follow his orders, but for me I'm available every night, unless I'm injured. I've been hurt all year, but unless you injured, you play, so I'm OK with that."

Charlotte (29-26) lost Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the season following shoulder surgery last Wednesday and didn't have Kemba Walker or Al Jefferson on Feb. 3 against Cleveland, but Jeremy Lin finished with 24 points to help beat the Cavaliers 106-97.

That victory was the second of seven during an eight-game stretch for the Hornets, who are tied with Chicago for seventh in the East.

Jefferson returned for Friday's win over Milwaukee after missing the previous 23 following knee surgery, then hit 9 of 13 from the field and scored 18 points in Sunday's 104-96 win over Brooklyn.

Walker scored 28 for Charlotte, which has won a season-high five straight overall and the first three of a six-game trip.

"You've got to get ready for the next game,'' Jefferson said. ''It's a great feeling as of right now. We're playing well, especially winning games on the road, but we've still got a long road trip to go.''

The Hornets are on the verge of winning five consecutive road games for the first time since Jan. 29-Feb. 20, 2002, and were 6-17 away from home prior to this run. They lost 129-90 in their last trip to Cleveland on Jan. 23, 2015.

"We know that we have to play better on the road, and that's what we're trying to do,'' Walker said.

Irving didn't play Nov. 27 in Charlotte as James finished with 25 points and 13 boards and Love added 18 and 16 rebounds in Cleveland's 95-90 win.

  • CHARLOTTE: 103
    CLEVELAND: 114

    Feb 24 9:19 PM

  • End of 4th Quarter.

    Feb 24 9:19 PM

  • End of 3rd Quarter.

    Feb 24 8:45 PM

    3rd Quarter - 0:24

    Feb 24 8:45 PM

  • End of 1st Half.

    Feb 24 8:07 PM

    2nd Quarter - 0:10

    Feb 24 8:07 PM
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    Hornets 26, Cavaliers 26  2nd - 11:10Feb 24 7:37 PM

  • End of 1st Quarter.

    Feb 24 7:33 PM

    1st Quarter - 0:13

    Feb 24 7:32 PM
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    Hornets 9, Cavaliers 12  1st - 6:46Feb 24 7:19 PM

    1st Quarter - 12:00

    Feb 24 7:11 PM

  • Cody Zeller vs. Tristan Thompson (LeBron James gains possession)

    Feb 24 7:10 PM


    Feb 24 7:10 PM
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    Hornets vs. CavaliersNov 28 8:31 AM
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    Hornets vs. CavaliersAug 13 8:32 AM