With the ultimate goal being to win the franchise's first championship, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown took advantage of a light portion of the schedule to give LeBron James a couple of games off.
The Philadelphia 76ers probably wish Brown would decide to rest the superstar a little longer.
While Antawn Jamison will sit out, James is expected to play for the first time in a week Friday night as the reigning league MVP looks to help the Cavaliers beat the 76ers for the eighth time in nine meetings.
James missed the previous two games after twisting his right ankle in last Friday's 99-92 win over Detroit. The injury wasn't considered serious, but the Cavaliers (50-15) decided to be extra cautious and avoid rushing him back. Brown said if this were the playoffs, James, who leads the league with 30.0 points per game, would be on the floor.
One of the reasons Brown decided to give James a rest was because of an extended break in the schedule. The Cavs haven't played since defeating San Antonio 97-95 on Monday.
"I'm always a guy who wants to play every game, but I think now looking back it was definitely the right decision to give the injuries I had some rest," James said Thursday after practicing for the first time. "It's not often you can look in the schedule and get a week off and only miss two games, so we took advantage of it."
While Cleveland managed to win for the first time in 10 games since 2007-08 without James on Monday, the victory came with a price as Jamison left late in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury.
An MRI revealed no serious problem, and it was later revealed Jamison has a cyst behind his left knee that is filled with fluid.
Jamison, averaging 20.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in his last six, will miss this contest but insists he'll be back for Sunday's game against Atlantic Division-leading Boston.
"Perfect timing for something like this to happen," Jamison said, referring to the three days off between games. "This organization is looking at the overall picture to make sure guys are healthy when it counts."
Cleveland won its first two games of the season over Philadelphia - both before Jamison was acquired - as James averaged 34.0 points and 8.0 assists.
The Cavs have won seven of eight over the 76ers (23-41) and taken the last six in Philadelphia.
Cleveland isn't the only team that has given the Sixers fits on their home court. Philadelphia has been outscored by an average of 15.3 points in losing its last three at the Wachovia Center and has the league's third-worst home record at 10-20.
"We just haven't executed well at home," forward Elton Brand said after a 102-87 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday.
The Sixers trailed by as many as 29 in losing for the seventh time in eight games. Philadelphia's defense has been especially bad lately, allowing an average of 107.3 points on 50.6 percent shooting in six games this month.
"We have to pay better attention to detail," swingman Andre Iguodala said.
Iguodala is averaging a team-best 16.8 points but hasn't reached that mark in the last five games, averaging 11.8.