The Cavaliers could get closer to tasting victory again with the pending return of James and will resume a five-game road trip Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.
James is averaging 25.2 points per game and hasn't played since Dec. 28 versus Detroit because of a sore knee. The Cavs are 1-7 in James' absence and have lost five in a row and nine of the last 11 games.
When asked if he could play against Phoenix, James said he's a "game-time decision." James got work in during Monday's practice and said it felt good to get back on the court. He did admit the rest was good for him, but not for the team.
James, who is expected to get more treatment and is hoping his body reacts well before tip-off, believes the Cavaliers must sustain effort for 48 minutes and they haven't done so recently.
It won't be an easy task against the guard-loaded Suns.
"They present a lot challenges. They have three point guards that put extensive pressure on the defense," James said. "Even if I'm in the lineup or not, we have to do a really good job of communicating and flying around helping one another."
Cleveland is coming off Sunday's 103-84 loss to the Sacramento Kings and opened this western jaunt with a setback against the Golden State Warriors. In the recent defeat at the Kings, Kevin Love scored 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double, while Kyrie Irving scored 21 points with seven assists. Irving has scored at least 21 points in eight of the last nine games, averaging 25.0 ppg in that time.
The loss dropped the Cavs to 19-19 on the season and 8-10 on the road.
"It wasn't a good performance ... can't sugarcoat this," Cavs coach David Blatt said.
The Cavs have lost three in a row on the road and have two games remaining on this sojourn against the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.
Cavs forward Shawn Marion (hip) and newcomer J.R. Smith (elbow) are listed as questionable against Phoenix.
The Suns are scheduled to remain in the desert for the next eight games versus Cleveland, Minnesota, the Lakers, Portland, Houston, the Clippers, Washington and Chicago, and are 9-7 at home.
Phoenix is unbeaten in its last three home games and went 2-2 on a recent road swing, which culminated with Sunday's 122-110 double-overtime loss at Memphis. The Grizzlies outscored the Suns, 14-2, in the second OT and were led by Zach Randolph's 27 points and 17 rebounds.
Isaiah Thomas led the Suns with 20 points off the bench, Markieff Morris had 17 points and Alex Len posted 14 to go along with 13 rebounds. Phoenix shot 42 percent for the game and made only 8-of-35 3-pointers. Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic scored 11 and nine points, respectively.
The Suns rallied from a 16-point hole in the second half and Bledsoe's jumper was off the mark at the horn in the first overtime.
"It looked like he slipped, and he couldn't get off a decent shot," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Brandan Wright, who was obtained from Boston on Friday, made his first appearance for the Suns and finished with seven points.
Morris is posting an average of 16.0 points and 5.7 rebounds in his last seven games, and despite his low output against Memphis, Dragic is still scoring 18.9 ppg in his past 21 games. Bledsoe is averaging 18.4 points in his previous 14 contests.
Phoenix is 10-4 in its last 14 games and split two games with Cleveland last season. The two teams will meet against March 7 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Suns are 6-2 in the past eight games in this series.