CLEVELAND, Sporting Alert — To the surprise of no one, LeBron James will start for the Cleveland Cavaliers in tonight’s NBA tip off opener against the Boston Celtics.
James, who missed four of Cleveland’s five preseason games with an ankle injury, was listed as questionable for the opening game of the season.
However, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says the four-time MVP will play tonight and will suit up against former teammate Kyrie Irving.
“He’s going to be tired anyway,” a joking Lue said. “He’s going to take himself out.”
Lue said on Monday that he was unsure about the status of James for the game at Quicken Loans Arena.
However, JR Smith, who would have replaced James in the starting lineup, had different outlooked, stating after practice on Monday that the sore ankle would not stop the star forward from playing in the first game of the season.
Lue made the decision to go ahead and play the 32-year-old after he participated in the morning shootaround and looked good to go.
James also looked easy during the team warmup before the game, while a few jump tests didn’t bother him.
Not only did James started, he played a game-high 41 minutes and made a significant contribution for the Cavaliers in the win.
The 14-year pro had a few minutes where he looked slightly uncomfortable and even went down and stayed down for a moment in the fourth quarter.
KYRIE FACES FORMER TEAMMATES
The game saw Boston Celtics point guard Irving taking on his former club for the first time since he asked for a trade three months ago.
Irving was presented by boos when he entered the game, but those eventually quieted down as the contest progressed.
Live coverage of this game will be on TNT and Watch TNT, starting at 8:00 pm ET.