LeBron James was sidelined with a finger injury when the Washington Wizards blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers last month.
This time, the Cavs (22-18) will have a red-hot James in the lineup as they try to continue their impressive play in January in Wednesday's matchup with the Wizards (22-17).
Cleveland has won four straight and eight of nine this month, and James has powered the surge, averaging 32.1 points on 49.8 percent shooting in the new year. The NBA's leading scorer at 29.7 points per game was 11-of-26 from the field for 28 points in Cleveland's 97-90 win over Miami on Monday.
While James has been on a tear, Cleveland is getting offensive contributions from the rest of its roster. Five Cavaliers scored in double figures against the Heat, as Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 13 points along with 11 rebounds, Drew Gooden added 11 points and Sasha Pavlovic and Damon Jones each scored 10.
"I know I am going to draw a lot of attention, and I was able to get some looks where they had two guys on me," said James, who also had five assists. "That really helped us because I drew two defenders on all my shots, which allowed Andy (Anderson Varejao) and 'Z' (Ilgauskas) to get free. My team does a great job of reacting to what happens to me on double-teams."
Although it seemed that Miami had a chance to pull off the upset, Cleveland never trailed after Pavlovic's 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half.
"They had us on the ropes a couple of times," Ilgauskas told the Cavs' official Web site, "but we're playing a lot better over the last three weeks - especially on the road. So hopefully we'll continue to roll."
The Cavaliers will be looking for some revenge against the Wizards after getting beaten 105-86 at Washington on Dec. 5. James missed that game because of a sprained left index finger, an injury that kept him out five games from Nov. 30-Dec. 8.
James is averaging 25.6 points in 14 games against Washington, although he shot just 38.8 percent from the field against them in three meetings last season while averaging 23.7 points.
The Wizards come in having won five of six, including a 102-84 rout of Dallas on Monday.
Caron Butler scored 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting and added nine rebounds, five assists and five steals. Antawn Jamison had 23 points and eight rebounds while DeShawn Stevenson added 18 points, going 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
The Wizards were 11-of-22 from beyond the arc and forced 16 turnovers that led to 25 points. It was the sixth time in 2007-08 that Washington held an opponent under 85 points after not doing it once last season.
Washington's opponents are averaging 96.5 points, but 90.7 during January. Dallas was held to 41.3 percent from the field Monday in its worst loss of the season.
"We're being nastier and grittier defensively and our concentration level is up defensively," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "The theme tonight was, 'Each possession get better.'"
Washington has won five of the last seven meetings with the Cavaliers. The teams have alternated wins and losses in the last eight games in Cleveland, with the Cavs taking the last matchup at Quicken Loans Arena 97-94 on Nov. 6, 2006.
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