CLEVELAND, Ohio (Sporting Alert) — LeBron James sat out the Cleveland Cavaliers shootaround to rest his sprained ankle ahead of the Game 5 clash with the Chicago Bulls tonight.
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James, who hit the winning bucket as time expired to lift the Cavs to the exciting 86-84 victory in Game 4 on Sunday, revealed that he rolled his ankle trying to take a charge on Derrick Rose in the third quarter.
The four-time MVP played through pain to knock down the corner buzzer-beating jumper and he said he will be ready for Tuesday night’s game.
“I’ll be ready tonight,” James said. “It’s been better, but it’s been worse.”
The seven-game series is locked at 2-2 and James seems optimistic about the remainder of the series.
“I’m very confident,” he said. “We should be. They should be too, our opposition.
“It’s a best of three series to this point and we got to try to protect our home court.”
In the meantime, Cavs will also be keeping a keen eye on star guard Kyrie Irving, who also didn’t participate in the morning shootaround.
Irving, who has shot 10-for-32 in the last three games of the series, has been struggling to overcome problems on his right foot and left knee, but he doesn’t expect to sit out any games.
Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on Tuesday that the 23-year-old underwent an MRI, which showed tendinitis in his left knee.
A team spokesman said the point guard, along with James, took part in the team walkthrough but stayed away from all athletic activities.
For the Bulls, Pau Gasol remains a game-time decision, the club revealed on Tuesday.
Gasol missed Game 4 with a left hamstring injury and Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters that he will wait until warmups to make a final decision about his status.
“Pau knows his body well. He’s been around a long time. We’ll just trust the way he feels,” Thibodeau said.
According to ESPN Stats, when Gasol’s on the court, the Bulls have been able to outscore opponents by more than 10 points per 100 possessions this postseason, versus the -1.4 without him on the floor.
Nevertheless, it is understood that the power forward “remains unlikely” to feature in Game 5.
The second Game 5 on the night comes from Toyota Center in Houston, where the Clippers will take a 3-1 series lead in their Western Conference semi-finals series against the Houston Rockets.
Doc Rivers and the Clippers are one game away from booking a conference final place, while the Rockets are one loss away from being eliminated from the playoffs.
James Harden and Dwight Howard have both been voicing their opinions, with the former outlining his concerns about not being protected by officials.
Harden says he has scratches to show how much he has been fouled.
“I’ve got a couple of scratches on my arms to show you,” he said. “But it is what it is.”